Most post-2014 cases under investigation; accused continue to serve
Srinagar: Not going beyond initial investigation, most of the corruption cases registered against top government officials, particularly from the police department, by the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) are “under investigation” since 2014.
Official documents reveal that 122 cases were registered against officials of different departments since 2014 and fewer than 30 cases were actually challaned while the rest are ‘under investigation’.
Among them were at least 25 police officials including deputy SPs, inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables that were accused of accepting bribes, having disproportionate assets, lodging false First Information Reports (FIRs), or misusing their official positions.
However, the majority of these cases haven’t moved beyond initial investigations or they are awaiting “Action Taken Report” by the department, while the accused continue to serve in their positions.
Insiders at SVO told Kashmir Reader that the main reason behind cases remaining under investigation is that the departments where the accused have been earlier serving don’t cooperate with investigating officials.
“They either fear that they might become end victims and prefer silence or don’t want to get involved in the mess by playing safe,” an insider, wishing anonymity, told Kashmir Reader.
For instance, official says, on many occasions, investigation officers faced problems in acquiring details of movable or immovable property details and track record of officials accused of wrongdoing.
One such case was registered by the Vigilance Organisation in 2015 against Manish Aggarwal, then-DySP RamNagar, Udhampur, and Constable Yudhvir Singh.
The case, as per official documents, involved “extortion of bribe in lieu of release of complainant and his son involved in suicide case registered against them”. It is still “under investigation”.
Similarly, another DySP Zubeer Mirza, who in 2015 served as SDPO Arnas, Reasi, and Inspector Ranjeet Singh, then-SHO Arnas, were booked by SVO in January 2016 for “illegal confinement of the complainant” and “demanding and accepting the bribe of Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000 respectively”. The case too is still “under investigation”.
In Kashmir, three cases involving illegal construction and disproportionate assets were registered in 2015 against Sikander Khan, a DySP who was then assigned to work in Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).
Khan was accused of allowing illegal constructions in Brein and Ishber areas of Nishat, Srinagar. The third case against him was of disproportionate assets acquired allegedly by Sikander himself.
The SVO, in 2015, had raided Sikander’s house at Rajbagh and seized documents pertaining to purchase of immovable property.
During extensive house search, SVO had claimed to have recovered various documents pertaining to the purchase of immovable property by Khan while in active service.
The accused, as per SVO, allegedly owns a huge shopping complex at Batamaloo Srinagar.
“He has 2 kanals 18 Marlas of land at Batamaloo. He also owns 4 kanals 15 Marlas of land at Lolpora Tangmarg, besides being allegedly in possession of movable property including bank balance, jewelry, bank lockers, cash, and electronic goods worth lakh of rupees,” an official SVO statement said.
Khan, who now was posted as DySP JK Armed Police 13 Battalion, Humhama, was finally arrested last month by the Vigilance Organisation.
The SVO, in an official handout, said the investigation in the case “cannot proceed until the accused was not interrogated”. Even after all the details against the accused, the cases, however, remain “under investigation”.
Another interesting case involved Constable Saif Din from Doda who in 2015 was accused of obtaining Rs 40 lakh from the complainant.
The constable, as per the official documents, had assured the complainant of arranging an MD seat for his daughter in Acharya Shri Chander College of Medical Science, in Sidhra Jammu. The case too is “under investigation”.
Another case referred for departmental action in 2015, as per official records, shows “Action Taken Report (ATR) awaited”.
The case involved one Vikram currently posted as Sub-Inspector, Women Cell Udhampur, allegedly lodging a false FIR against the complainant and two of his sons.
In another 2015 case, Rajni Sehgal, the then-Superintendent of the Kot Bhalwal jail, Jammu was accused of misappropriation of 107 ancient and precious coins. The case is with Crime Brach Jammu and still “under investigation”.
Muneer Khan, who has recently assumed the charge of Director SVO J&K, told Kashmir Reader that since the commission receives high profile cases, a good amount of time is required to take the cases to their conclusion.
“Our instigation revolves more around documentary evidences. It takes a lot of time in compiling, sharing and acquiring the voluminous documents (from different departments) against the involved persons,” Khan said.
He said that the department is not facing any problems in investigating the cases and that the SVO is following up on all the pending cases. “Many arrests have been made since I took over,” he said.