A total of 172 persons were arrested who were found to be involved in 129 bribery cases including 83 who were arrested red-handed and 89 persons through online complaints in the year 2022, Vigilance Punjab Bureau informed in a statement. As per the official statement, 371 persons were also booked in 135 criminal cases in the same year.
VB Chief Director-cum-ADGP Varinder Kumar said, “We have adopted a multi-faceted approach to corner the bribe seekers and to generate awareness among the public with a resolute stand to curb this social malady. The Punjab Government is firmly resolved to provide corruption-free administration. He revealed that during the year, apart from other departments, 30 personnel of Punjab Police, 13 from the revenue department, 5 power department and 4 local bodies were nabbed red-handed while taking bribes in different trap cases from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022,” He reiterated that eradicating corruption is the topmost priority of the Punjab government.
The Chief Minister launched Chief Minister’s Anti-Corruption Action Line on 23 March 2022 to encourage people to report cases of corruption. “The initiative has shown notable results,” Kumar said.
Giving more details about the performance of the Bureau, Chief Director Varinder Kumar informed that “VB had registered 135 criminal cases against 371 accused which includes 35 gazetted officers, 63 non-gazetted officials, NGOs and 173 private persons. Apart from this, 103 vigilance enquiries have also been registered against 139 suspects which include 35 GOs, 58 NGOs and 46 private persons in the last year. Besides, 2 cases of disproportionate assets were also registered against one GO and NGO,” Kumar added.
The Bureau had launched an anti-corruption campaign under the directions of chief minister Bhagwant Mann. “Bureau has set a record in the registration of bribery cases, arrests of accused in corruption, registration of criminal cases and filling of vigilance enquiries and suspects involved in these probes as compared to the last two years,” read the release.
“Adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of corruption, Strict action was taken against 2 NGOs by their respective administrative departments due to conviction in various courts, he added. VB chief further informed that the Bureau had been able to conclude 39 vigilance enquiries during the previous year.
“Besides this, the VB had also issued directions/suggestions to various departments for identifying the methods of corruption,” Kumar said. Varinder Kumar said various special courts had sentenced 2 GOs, 18 NGOs and 10 private persons accused in 19 different vigilance cases registered under the prevention of corruption act and awarded imprisonment upto five years.
The special courts have also imposed fines varying from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 33,00,000 in these cases which amount to a total sum of Rs. 37,90,000, he informed. During the vigilance awareness week, the VB has conducted a state-wide campaign in which seminars and public meetings were held in urban as well as in rural areas to weed out corruption from the society and an integrity pledge was also administered to all the officers and employees of the bureau, he added.
Sharing more details of the success of the CM Anti-Corruption Action Line facility for the general public, Kumar said, “A total of 3,72,175 entries or complaints have been received last year out of which 6,407 complaints were received with audio/video recordings and 294 complaints pertaining to the vigilance bureau. He informed that 64 FIRs had been registered against 26 civilians, 27 Police officials and 29 civil departments on the basis of online complaints received in which 89 persons have been arrested/bailed out so far.
Apart from this, 2,970 complaints were found to be related to other departments which have been forwarded to the departments concerned. A total of 3,143 complaints were found irrelevant, junk posts, etc., which were general in nature, he added.