The Centre has issued new guidelines to seize properties or money of government officials involved in corrupt practices even after their retirement.
According to new norms made in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice, a competent authority in concerned department can give authorisation to the Centre to attach properties or wealth of the accused employee acquired through corrupt practises after his retirement.
The guidelines assume significance as most of the departments and investigating agencies like CBI have expressed difficulty in acting against corrupt public servants who have retired pending charge sheet or charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“Departments have written to us seeking clarification while attaching properties of a corrupt officials. More difficulties were being faced in case of retired government officials. Hence, we decided to get the issue resolved,” a senior official of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
He said a set of guidelines have been issued to all the departments under the Government, including the CBI.
The Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944, authorises the Government to attach properties of a person said to have procured through corrupt means.
However, the clause lacks clarification for seizure of properties in case of pending charge sheet, sanction of prosecution or in case of retirement of a corrupt person.
“In the case of retired public servants, even though the charge sheets are filed without obtaining sanction for prosecution under Section 19 (1) of the PC Act, 1988, the Government or authority which would have been competent to remove the public servant from his office at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed should be competent to give authorisation...for attachment of money or procured by means of scheduled offences,” the official said.
He said in cases where the competent authority cannot be equated with the central government, the administrative ministries of the concerned competent authorities can file an application seeking attachment of money or properties of a corrupt public servant.
The Section 19 (1) of the PC Act says that “no court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under Sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 alleged to have been committed by a public servant, except with the previous sanction”.
The sections deals with acts of corruption by a public servants.