Srinagar- Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed low convictions of public servants in corruption cases, despite a massive crackdown launched by the Union Territory administration to curb the menace of corruption in government offices, official figures received through Right to Information (RTI) reveal.
The data, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, discloses that from 2010 to 2023, only 78 government officials have been convicted in J&K.
The figures clearly suggest that the conviction rate in corruption cases remains low in J&K, outpaced by acquittals, with many districts reporting zero convictions in 13 years.
The figures further disclose that for over a decade, 156 government officials, who were accused of corruption by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), were acquitted by the respective Anti Corruption courts.
The figures indicate that the number of acquittals is three times higher than convictions.
In the Special Anti Corruption Court Jammu, 75 accused government officials were acquitted, while 55 were convicted. Similarly, in the Special Anti Corruption Court Srinagar, which encompasses cases from Budgam and Ganderbal, 42 government officials were acquitted, with only 18 being convicted during the period from 2010 to 2023.
Surprisingly, in the districts of Rajouri, Doda, and Kathua, not a single government official has faced conviction in the past 13 years. In contrast, each of these three designated courts acquitted one government official.
In the Pulwama Anti Corruption Court, nine accused officials were acquitted, while two were convicted. Likewise, in Anantnag, six officials were acquitted, and only one government official was convicted during the 13-year period from 2010 to 2023.
In Baramulla Anti Corruption Court, which covers cases from Kupwara and Bandipora as well, 11 government officials facing corruption charges by the ACB were acquitted, with only one official receiving a conviction.
However, LG Manoj Sinha led administration has taken a tough stand on corruption and is taking comprehensive measures for ensuring transparent, accountable, and responsive governance.
The government has launched Mobile Application ‘Satark Nagrik’ and Departmental Vigilance Officers Portal of J&K Anti Corruption Bureau with an aim to facilitate seamless flow of information about corruption and enable citizens to submit their grievances with ease and mobility.
Pertinently, the UT administration has made it mandatory for all government employees to have vigilance clearance for obtaining a passport.
An employee seeking a passport will have to secure a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the concerned department on the basis of a vigilance report.
An official from the ACB told Kashmir Observer that the government has enforced a strict zero-tolerance policy against corruption, and the ACB is diligently working to uphold this commitment.
Figures from the ACB website suggest that the department has tightened noose on the corrupts with recovery/ seizure of funds to the tune of Rs.202 crore in one of the cases, increase in trap cases, attachment of assets worth crores and arrest of high profile persons.
The data also reveals that by December 31, 2020, a total of 71 cases had been registered. Among these, 48 cases had been charge-sheeted during that time frame.
In total cases registered in 2020, 10 were categorized as trap cases, involving government officials caught in the act of demanding and accepting bribes during their official duties, while 8 cases were classified as Disproportionate Assets (DA) cases.
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