The Railways Ministry has topped the list of government departments that did not adhere to Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) advice against corrupt officials and concluded cases as per its own disciplinary procedures, according to the CVC’s latest annual report.
The annual report for 2021, released on Monday, found 55 such instances across government departments, 11 of them in Railways.
Besides Railways, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), Bank of India and Delhi Jal Board have four cases each, and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited shielded its employees in three such cases, CVC reported.
Two such cases were from Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Madras Fertilizers Limited, Indira Gandhi National Open University, and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (which is now part of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi), the report stated.
In one case mentioned in the report, a chief personnel officer of the Railways was found to have amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income by 138 per cent. “The Commission tendered its first stage advice March 7, 2012, for initiation of major penalty proceedings against the then Chief Personnel Officer. While tendering second stage advice, the Commission had advised imposition of penalty under Railway Service (Pension) Rules against him,” the report noted.
The disciplinary authority of the Railways — the Railway Board (Member Staff) — closed the case and dropped the proceedings against the officer, the report stated. “Non-acceptance of the Commission’s advice or non-consultation with the Commission vitiates the vigilance process and weakens the impartiality of the vigilance administration,” it stated.
In last year’s annual report, CVC had listed nine such instances from Railways.
The CVC said it has noted some “serious and significant irregularities and lapses” in the way departments dealt with cases. These include failure of the disciplinary authority to follow procedures for consultation with the CVC and/or the Department of Personnel and Training in cases of disagreement or delays in seeking advice and lack of awareness or ignorance of rules.
Another case highlighted was in SIDBI, which resulted in massive financial losses.
Between August 28, 2017 and November 27, 2017, officers working in the bank’s treasury and its management vertical placed Rs 1,000 crore as fixed deposits with two interrelated private financial institutions in eight branches, the report stated. “By placing the amount as deposits without obtaining any quotations to compare or negotiate the rates of interest with the institutions, the officials violated terms of the Manual of SOP (standard operating procedure) for Treasury Operations of SIDBI,” it said.
In financial year 2018, the officials allowed SIDBI’s deposits to be placed only with this particular financial institution without considering the other available options of deposits, the report said. On maturity of the tenure of deposits, when the bank sought its proceeds, the claims were not honoured by the financial institutions despite repeated efforts, it said.
“The Commission advised for imposition of major penalty, on two officials involved in the matter. The disciplinary authority ‘exonerated’ both the officials from charges in deviation from the Commission’s advice,” the CVC report stated.