More Teeth And Bite Suggested for Vigilance Commission Mooted, Vigilance Reports Leave Many Departments Squirming With Discomfort

IMPHAL, Mar 9: Though there has been some improvement in the response of the Administrative Departments to references from the State Vigilance Commission, the departments have to play a more effective role in starting departmental inquiries on the recommendation of the Commission and in ensuring expeditious completion so that the guilty officials may be punished promptly, the Commission has observed.

The annual report of the State Vigilance Commission, 2010, which was tabled on the floor of the State Assembly on the second day of its ongoing Budget session today, has observed that the departments have to play a more effective role in this regard.

Among other observations and recommendations, the annual report of the Vigilance Commission has taken serious note of the fact that there seems to be no practice prevalent for annual inspection of offices by the Head of Department/Independent agencies except perhaps by the Audit.

In this regard, the Commission has recommended that the Government should introduce an effective system of annual inspection for detecting long pending cases as well as to find out malpractices, misdemeanors, exercise or non-exercise of power for improper or corrupt purposes, etc.

The Commission has pointed out the employees convicted in a court of law for misconduct, cheating, misappropriation, etc and who have been removed from service as a result of departmental proceedings should be debarred from future employment under the Government. Moreover, the heads of  those departments which are exposed more to public dealings like Education (S), Health Services, PWD, Revenue, DRDA, Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Power, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Social Welfare and District Council need to exercise constant and continuous vigilance in view of the hardships faced by public due to corrupt practices.

Identifying these departments as sensitive based on an analysis of a number of parameters, the Commission has also recommended setting up vigilance cells in all these departments.

Pointing out that it has not been possible to check up cases of disproportionate assets against Govt employees suspected to be indulging in corruption and amassing wealth because most of the employees managed to avoid submission of annual property returns for many years, the Commission has recommended that this has to be checked and the system of annual property returns strictly enforced. Observing that every Govt office has some posts which deal substantially with the public and which present opportunities for corruption, the Commission has recommended that it is necessary to ensure that the staff is not employed in such posts beyond the term of three years except with the approval of the higher authority.

Action should also be taken under the provisions of FT 56 (i) for screening of all officers above the age of 50 years or those who have completed 20 years of service to weed out officials lacking integrity, the Commission recommended in its annual report.

Stating that a  large number of enquiries taken up by the Commission’s field staff relate to complaints against individuals obtaining Government jobs on false pretext particularly on the basis of false degrees/certificates, the Commission observed that this amounts to cheating and is punishable under the Indian Penal Code. But it is seen that sometimes, when the culprits get caught, they submit their resignations which is accepted by the Appointing Authority. This is not enough. The culprits should be tried in an appropriate court of law for the offence committed by them and once the guilt is proved, he/she should invariably be debarred from future Government service, Commission recommended.

With regard to cases in which food grains lifted from godowns of FCS or FCI and earmarked for distribution/sale in the interior areas being sold elsewhere, the Commission pointed out that such malpractices have been possible due to lack of a proper monitoring system. So, the Commission has recommended that the procedure for issue of rice from the godowns for places which are in the interior areas needs to be reviewed and setting up of Vigilance units in the districts will help in detecting such cases and punishing the offenders. According to the report of the Commission, of the many cases taken up last year, recommendations for awarding major penalty have been given in 16 cases.

The officials against who the Commission recommended major penalty include  W Kulla (LDC in IFCD), Sh Ibotombi (Geologist in Industries Dept), Max Guite( who was ASO in Commerce and Industries Department), Dr K Lokhol (Deputy Director-I in MOBC), Dr I Chourjit ( Gynecologist in JN Hospital) , O  Landhoni (SDC (HQ, Imphal East, Porompat), G Satyabati Devi ( Director of Social Welfare Department), N Shyama Devi ( CDPO of ICDS Project, Thoubal under Social Welfare Department), B Shanto Kumar Sharma ( the then principal of Manipur Public School) and Shantikumar Ray (Account Officer in Manipur Public School and L Beikul Singh ( former CEO of Manipur Khadi and Village Industries Board).

Along with taking up many cases related to appointment through fake certificates, the Commission had also recommended suspension of many Govt employees. Some of them are Md Abdul Wahid ( Primary teachers in Leingoijil Primary School), Md  Salauddin ( Arts Graduate teacher in Abdul Ali High Madrassa, Lilong), Md Riyajul Haque ( part-time lecturer in Mathematics serving in KhaManipur College, Kakching), L Ibobi (work-charged Assistant Lineman in Power Department), Md Anwar Hussain( Divisional Commander, Home Guard), N Akashini Devi ( Anganwadi worker under Kairenbikhok), etc.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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