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HC questions ACBs move to forward complaints to depts

The Bombay High Court questioned the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)s practice of forwarding graft complaints to the state departments concerned.

A division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dhangre was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar alleging corruption in the allotment of parking lots by the office of former state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the Urban Development Department (UDD).

Wategaonkar told the court that he had also filed a complaint with the ACB, which had forwarded it to the UDD, after which the complaint was closed.

Irked over this, the bench said, “We are seeing this in every case nowadays. The ACB forwards every complaint it receives to the concerned state department…as if the department is going to accept that they have committed an offence.”

“The ACB has to first look into the complaint…carry out a detailed probe and then leave it to the court to decide if an offence is made out or no. The ACB need not form a final opinion,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.

The court, while adjourning the matter, asked additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde to inform them in the next hearing about the process adopted by the ACB when it receives a complaint about corruption by bureaucrats or any public servants.

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