Lokpal nod mandatory to probe corrupt officers?

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New Delhi, Feb 18: The Centre is considering changes in anti-corruption legislations to make it mandatory for CBI or any other investigating agency to seek prior approval from the Lokpal to probe corruption charges against government servants, a move apparently aimed at shielding the corrupt.

The government, however, said this was being done to ensure efficient and transparent working of the employees.

lokpal

Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, or Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, or Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Lokpal shall have the power to grant sanction for prosecution, according to the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

This mean CBI or any other investigating agency need to take permission from the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas or similar bodies in the states before probing corruption charges, officials said.

The 6A clause of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DPSE) Act, which governs CBI, says no inquiry or probe can be conducted into any offence alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, except with prior approval of the central government. Similar provisions exist in the CrPC and PC Act.

The Supreme Court had, in March last year, held as "invalid and unconstitutional" the legal provision which makes sanction of competent authority mandatory for CBI to probe a corruption case against an officer of Joint Secretary-rank or above, saying it has the propensity of shielding the corrupt.

When contacted, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh said this was being done to ensure efficient and transparent working of the employees.

"The government does not want to discriminate against any employee at any level. We want to make a cordial atmosphere to ensure efficient and transparent working of the employees," Singh told PTI.

 PTI

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