Saturday, June 10, 2017

Goa CS accused of blocking FIR against former IG

The Hindu: Panaji: Saturday, June 10, 2017.
The man who alleged that Goa Inspector General of Police(IGP) Sunil Garg had taken a bribe, has now accused Goa Chief Secretary, Dharmendra Sharma, of giving protection to Mr. Garg and not allowing registration of an FIR. This despite a recommendation from the Inquiry Officer of State Anti-Corruption Branch(ACB) to register an FIR into the matter, which has been endorsed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG), ACB.
Munnalal Halwai, a businessman from Vasco da Gama in South Goa made a charge in August last year that the then IGP had demanded and accepted a bribe of ₹5.5 lakh to register an FIR in a cheating case he had filed at the Ponda police station in Central Goa. He had also addressed a complaint to the Chief Minister regarding the same. Mr. Garg had denied the allegations.
The erstwhile Goa CM, Laxmikant Parsekar, had promised the Assembly in August last year that the government would probe into the allegations of bribery against Mr. Garg through an independent, non-police and impartial authority. Mr. Garg was transferred out of Goa before he was cleared of the charge.
Addressing a press conference here Mr. Halwai demanded that the Chief Minister initiate necessary action against the Chief Secretary for protecting a corrupt officer.
The documents obtained by the complainant under the Right to Information Act were released at the press conference which revealed the DySP in-charge of ACB vide notice dated 22/02/2017 submitted a file to the Chief Secretary through DIG ACB and recommended the FIR into his complaint dated 11/08/2016. The DIG ACB mentioned, “Kindly peruse the detailed report of DySP/ACB in order to arrive at the logical conclusion that several actions are required to be undertaken.” He further noted that it was required for all the evidence to be brought on record and conclude that for the inquiry registration of FIR is required.”
Mr. Halwai said, that prima facie, enough evidence was on record to register an FIR into the matter.
He stated he had also asked for the Enquiry Reports conducted by former Chief Secretary R K Shrivastava from the office of PIO/Directorate of Vigilance under the RTI Act. The PIO had rejected his request to provide the information. Mr. Halwai filed a complaint against the PIO under Section 18 and 20 of the RTI Act for providing false and fabricated reply before the Information Commission
He pointed that it could be noted that the file containing the said recommendation had been forwarded to Chief Secretary on February 23. Yet, even after three-and-a half months, no approval has been sanctioned by the Chief Secretary to register an FIR into the matter.
When contacted, Chief Secretary Sharma denied the allegations and told The Hindu that it would be inappropriate to say that he had kept the file pending to protect the accused. He said that the file was under examination. He further said that as the complainant had approached the Special Court to submit the complaint for registration of FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, he found it advisable to await for the next hearing of the Court to know how to proceed. Unfortunately, the hearing of the court had been postponed twice.
Mr. Sharma said that considering the fact that the officer involved was a senior police officer (IPS), it would be appropriate to seek the view of competent authority to refer the same to an investigation agency independent of police - the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“Even if the ACB conducts the inquiry, whatever be the outcome, the next possible allegation of bias in inquiry by police cannot be ruled out. Therefore, I thought it advisable to wait for the next hearing of the Court” he said and added that he firmly felt that referring the case to Ministry of Home Affairs (competent authority for IPS postings of AGMU cadre which also applies to Goa) to be referred to CBI would be the best option.