The Central Vigilance Commission has hit a roadblock in the form of government officers, who are not giving the vigilance body the sanction to prosecute 84 of their colleagues. These 84 officers have been found to be involved in 45 cases of alleged wrongdoing. Some of these cases have been pending sanction for up to five years, in spite of the political leadership pushing for strict action against corrupt government officers.

The CVC, prima facie, has found these 84 officers to be indulging in alleged corrupt practices and has sought permission from their respective departments to prosecute them, but in vain. These cases also include IAS officers, who are now on the verge of retirement.

The maximum number of cases, six, is pending with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which is the cadre controlling authority of the All India Services. A CVC request to DoPT seeking action against Manmohan Singh, a secretary level IAS officer, has been pending for five years. Similar is the case with S.N. Mohanty. The CVC sought the DoPT’s permission to prosecute Mohanty in September 2014, but to no avail.

In another case, the CVC registered a complaint against senior IAS officer Sada Kant Shukla in 2010. It moved the DoPT in November 2012, seeking the permission to prosecute him. Almost five years later, the permission is yet to come.

Another IAS officer on the list is K. Dhanalakshmi, against whom a case was registered in 2011. The permission to prosecute her was sought in September 2014. However, that permission is still pending.

It is not just IAS officers that a certain section of bureaucrats are defending. They are also protecting senior officers of the rank of DGM or AGM, and belonging to public sector banks and other public service undertakings (PSUs). The CVC’s request to prosecute these officers is pending for a long time.

Sources in government say that not giving sanction to prosecute is the most common way of “helping out” an officer who has been caught in a vigilance case.

“Those who are able to ‘manage’ the cases, do it at this stage. They just make sure that the CVC does not get the permission to act against them, even after the vigilance body has completed its preliminary inquiry. In many cases, this ‘management’ is done at the inquiry level itself, and it is only in a very few cases that the CVC is able to move ahead and seek permission to prosecute the officer from the concerned government department. The CVC cannot do much unless and until the concerned minister too decides to come down hard on corruption,” claimed a government officer who has been handling vigilance cases.