Bihar to speed up prosecution of corrupt officials

Monday, January 24, 2011

PATNA - After setting an example by conducting speedy trials of criminals to rid the state of its image of being lawless, the Bihar government has decided to speed up the prosecution of public servants found corrupt.

Principal Vigilance Secretary Ashok Kumar Chauhan told IANS that he has directed all officials, from vigilance department’s public prosecutors to judicial officers of the special vigilance courts, to ensure quick disposal of corruption cases.

“The government will take the initiative to punish the guilty,” Chauhan said.

Thanks to speedy trials, over 55,000 criminals, including politicians, have been convicted in the last four-and-half years.

Encouraged by the speedy trials of criminals, the vigilance department is working on a strategy to take similar steps in corruption cases. “We are studying the possibilities,” the official said.

Chauhan said officials have been directed to ensure that witnesses are presented in courts on time. Besides, police papers should be made available to public servants accused of corruption to facilitate expeditious hearing of their cases.

He also said that the confiscation of the property belonging to guilty officials will be carried out without delay.

The government began the process of setting up a primary school in the confiscated property with the property seized from former motor vehicles inspector Raghuvansh Kunwar at Chaira village in Samastipur district.

According to a vigilance department official, Kunwar’s properties include two plots and a four-storey building at Kankarbagh locality in Patna, a house in Chaira, a jeep, Rs.1.94 lakh in cash and investments of Rs.8 lakh.

Kunwar was caught accepting a bribe of Rs.50,000 Sep 24, 2008, when he was posted in Aurangabad district. A case of disproportionate assets was lodged against him in 2009.

Similar cases are under way against 12 other government officials.

According to an official, all the cases are likely to be settled within the next six months.

Soon after assuming office following a historic poll verdict last year, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked cabinet colleagues to make their assets public. All the ministers have submitted the details.

Nitish Kumar also directed the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers of the state to declare their assets and those of their relatives by Jan 31.

Six special courts, two each in Patna, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur, were constituted by the state government with the permission of the Patna High Court for speedy trial of cases involving a total sum of over Rs.25 crore.

Filed under: Politics

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