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Rise in CBI anti-graft wing conviction rate

Guwahati, Dec. 28: The conviction rate of the CBIs anti-corruption bureau in Guwahati has gone up by 5 per cent this year, with the accused being sentenced in 17 cases.

The Guwahati branch of CBI has its jurisdiction over Assam, excluding Dima Hasao, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts, and Arunachal Pradesh.

An official source told The Telegraph today that of total 20 cases of the Guwahati anti-corruption bureau, which were disposed of by the court this year, only in three cases the accused have been acquitted. This year turned out to be good for us as the conviction rate has gone up to 85 per cent as compared to 80 per cent in 2011, the source said. Perhaps this is the best conviction rate achieved by the Guwahati branch in the past several years.

The countrys premier investigation agency is trying to improve its conviction rate since 2010 when the then director Ashwani Kumar issued an in-house circular highlighting the need to push the conviction rate up to at least 70 per cent. The circular was issued after the CBIs countrywide conviction rate dipped to a record low of only 64 per cent in 2009.

The source attributed the increase in conviction rate of the Guwahati anti-corruption bureau to speedy trials and setting up of two additional CBI courts here this year. He said a couple of cases disposed in 2012 were registered way back in 1982.

A couple of these cases were very old and their trial had been delayed mainly because the accused had moved the higher courts seeking relief, the source said.

According to him, this year the anti-corruption bureau registered a total of 18 new cases. One of the high-profile cases registered at the Guwahati branch this year is against the former president of the income tax appellate tribunal, Vimal Gandhi. The case was registered about three months ago and it is under investigation, the source said.

He said this year they have also started a preliminary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the payment of compensation for land acquisition for a road construction project at Dirang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, where an MLA, P Tsering, was named as one of the accused.

He said in 2012, the Guwahati anti-corruption bureau had filed chargesheets in 20 cases, which according to him, is a satisfactory performance.

As on today, there are 15 cases under investigation at the Guwahati branch and in most cases, the investigation is expected to be completed in 2013, the source said.