The performance of the Mumbai Zone of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) in 2009 has been exemplary as it managed to register a record number of 30 "trap" cases. It outdid all other zones and branches in the country as it brought to book a considerable number of top notch officials from various government departments. It overshot the overall annual target by over 25 percent in the year gone by registering 52 cases, disposing 67 from investigation and 38 from trial.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Rishi Raj Singh, CBI Joint Director (west zone), enlisted the various prominent cases of corruption and disproportionate assets against various civil servants. The most important one was the arrest of Sarobjit Singh aka Sweety Baba, son of Buta Singh, Chairman of National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on July 31, 2009. Sarobjit Singh was wanted for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 1 crore from a Nashik-based contractor to close a case against him in the Commission. "It was an important trap case where we also recovered three unlicensed arms. The charge sheet will be filed in the next 5 days" remarked Singh.
Other important trap cases were those that included top officers of various government departments accepting bribes and amassing wealth. The list includes the likes of Income Tax officials Additional Commissioner Kesh Kamat, Assistant Commissioner Rajkumar Bhatia Liladhar Humney, Asst. Wireless Advisor, Regional Licensing Office, and officers of departments like Food Corporation of India (FCI), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel who were charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI trapped RPF personnel who were allegedly collecting money illegally in an organised manner by demanding Rs 100 per passenger, amounting to nearly 1.60 lakh Rupees per day, for seats in the general compartment of trains originating from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai.
A charge-sheet was filed against the then Commissioner of Customs & Central Excise P.K. Ajwani, who was found to have amassed wealth amounting to 10.76 crores which was over 2095 per cent dis-proportionate to his income. The CBI seized around Rs 6.15 Crores in cash from his official residence. Another Dis-proportionate asset case was registered against Shri Ajay Kumar Singh, Commissioner of Income tax, who has been charge-sheeted recently.
The amount involved here was Rs 4 crore. The CBI also uncovered a housing scam involving the quarters allotted to central government employees. It conducted widespread surprise inspections of 9000 Central Public Works Department Quarters in Mumbai that led to revelation of Nexus between the touts and officials of Estate Department. Over 300 quarters were found illegally occupied.
This unearthing of wrong doings by the agency has helped save a lot of tax payer's money. The collection of The Employees Provident Fund showed a spurt of nearly Rs 1500 crores owing to the actions of CBI which registered cases of corruption Dis-proportionate assets and cheating against the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Mumbai, and an Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner.
Seeking active co-operation from the citizens Singh remarked, "Over 70 percent of the cases that we dealt with were based on information that we received from the general public. This year too we urge the public to bring to our notice any objectionable practices and assure them of effective action." The CBI intends to outdo its performance in the coming year and reach out to all 35 districts and union territories in the Maharashtra taking complaints in person.