Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sharp rise of whistleblowers' complaints to Central Vigilance Commission; drop in investigations

By Our Representative
Replying to a right to information (RTI) plea, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has revealed it received 470 complaints up to in 2014 till June-end under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection for Informants (PIDPI) order of the 2004 Government of India (GoI). The GoI’s PIDPI order was meant to encourage whistleblowers in government departments and public sector undertakings (PSUs) to file complaints about corruption and mismanagement of public funds and facilitate investigation. The resolution was passed after two young professionals employed in PSUs were murdered because they tried to expose corruption.
In a statement, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s (CHRI’s) senior activist Venkatesh Nayak, who had filed RTI application, said “In 2013 a total of 769 complaints were with the CVC. This included 144 complaints pending from 2012 and 625 fresh complaints received in 2013. In 2012, 805 complaints were received by the CVC. There was dip of about 23% in the number of PIDPI complaints received in 2013 as compared to 2012”.
Nayak said, “As 470 complaints have been received during the first six months of 2014, the trend seems to be growing again”, adding, a deeper look revealed that in 2013 only 10 per cent of the PIDPI cases were sent for Investigation and Reporting (I&R), i.e. 73 of 730 cases (pending from 2012 and fresh complaints received in 2013). In 2012, 169 of the total of 803 complaints were sent for I&R (total figures obtained from monthly reports are 805). This is 21 per cent of the total PIDPI complaints received by the CVC that year.”
A breakup of complaints revealed that the ministry of railways topped with 126 PIDPI complaints in 2012. Complaints of other years were not provided. Of these 32 in 2012, 16 in 2013 and only one in 2014 resulted in I&R. PSU banks came next with 57 PIDPI complaints, of which 11 were sent for I&R. Four cases were referred for I&R against Dena Bank, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank and State Bank of India in 2013. Then 23 complaints were regarding the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Income Tax received in in 2012. Six of the cases in 2012 and 7 cases in 2013 were referred for I&R.
The data further revealed that in 2013 “the CVC wound up only 6 of the 730 cases as 'requiring no action'. Data for the last eight months of 2012 shows that only one case was disposed of as requiring no action. In 2014 during the first six months 44 per cent of the cases (i.e., 178 of 404 cases) were disposed of as 'requiring no action'.” Saying that “this is a very large number”, Nayak added, “The public in general, and most importantly, the whistleblowers themselves have the right to know the reasons for this kind of disposal.”
Nayak said, “As the CVC gives only total figures of action taken such as disciplinary action, award of minor or major penalty or commencement of prosecution, against officers complained against in its monthly performance reports, it is not possible to know how many of the PIDPI complaints resulted in what consequences for the accused officers.” Nayak concluded, “In the ultimate analysis if the CVC does not find itself duty bound to publicise details of action taken on whistleblower complaints and the outcomes of its investigation.”

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