RTI Judgement Series: Anti-corruption branch of Delhi government took a year for an inquiry report
Moneylife Digital Team 29 March 2013

While allowing an appeal, the CIC noted that the ACB itself fist took three years to conduct the inquiries and then kept the report for over a year before forwarding it to the Vigilance Department. This is the 66th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while asking the Public Information Officers (PIOs) of Art Culture and Language department and Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to provide copies of an inquiry report expressed displeasure over the fact that it took these departments’ years just to send the report to other department.


While giving this important judgement on 9 April 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “(the) ACB itself fist took three years to conduct the inquiries and then kept the report for over a year before forwarding it to the Vigilance Department. The Vigilance Department took another year before forwarding it to Art Culture and Language department. The Commission expresses its distress at the extraordinary slow methods in which inquiries are conducted and inaction becomes the primary characteristic of such events.”


New Delhi resident Dharam Raj, on 4 August 2009, sought information about a complaint filed with ACB on embezzlement of funds in 1996     from the Art, Culture and Language as well as ACB of the GNCTD. Here is the information he sought...


1) Present status of the enquiry report submitted by the ACB to the CBI in the complaint No. 4/96 dated 10/01/1996.

2) Reason for conducting the enquiry by the CBI, ACB when it was predetermined that no action will be taken.

3) Details of approximate quantum of expenditure including the cost of human resource that had been incurred from the Govt. exchequer so far for conducting the enquiry against Mr SK Semwal and the result derived from the expenditure incurred.

4) Name(s) of the departments and the concerned person to whom CBI had made requests to provide the records related to the Semwal's reported corrupt activities.

5) Details of factors, which played role in providing the miraculous relief to the SK Semwal when he had already committed several crimes.

6) Whether there is any provision in the CrPC or IPC enquiry report to the accused concerned for the criminal's comment or to initiate proceedings directly against the accused for prosecution.

7) Whether there is any provision existed in the code of criminal procedure or the other allied laws that in case of non co-operation by an accused/ criminal with the police or other punishing authority, would he/ she be escaped from facing the prosecution.

8) Reason for recommendation of departmental action from CBI against the accused instead of prosecuting him in the court of law in a complaint which was criminal in nature and covered the ambit of CrPC/IPC. The same complaint was being investigated and substantiated by the ACB and it was beyond the ambit of CCS(CCA) rules, 1965. Number of criminal cases in which the ACB/ CBI had recommended departmental action by overriding the IPC/CrPC.

9) Details of source of Mr Semwal ability for purchasing and pocketing the law enforcing agencies like ACB/ Dte. Of Vigilance.

10) Name and designation of the persons who were equally involved with Mr SK Semwal's gang with reason for patronizing the criminal from facing the ire of law.

11) Reason for providing a special and out of turn treatment to Mr SK Semwal who had been declared a terrorist. Whether the public exchequer are meant to patronize the terror or to bring up a terrorist. Whether there is any law which has conferred any such power to the law enforcing agencies.

12) Whether the criminal justice system of the country has given any power to the Dte. Of Vigilance/ ACB and the CBI to ignore such type of crime even after their conferment.

13) Whether the Dte. Of Vig./ACB and also CBI were reluctant to take action against Mr Semwal due to his terror.

14) Whether the Dte. Of Vigilance/ AC & CBI would accept the challenge of Mr. Semawal by giving a fit lawful reply to him. Whether the ACB and CBI will remove the stigma slapped by Mr Semwal in the face of criminal justice system.

15) Whether the financial irregularities made by Mr Semwal will be reported to the EOW of Delhi Police. Whether these mischief makers who are serving with the help of fake, fabricated false certificates will be terminated from the service and prosecuted in the court of law.

16) Whether the CAG was aware of the fact of open loot of public money by the said terror designated Mr SK Semwal. Whether it was lawful and constitutional to bring up and patronizing the terrorist from the public exchequer.

17) The Appellant enclosed minutes of the then Addl. Secy., ALC consisting 5 pages.

18) Whether the CAG would order an special audit in respect of the fund given by the Govt. in aid and other heads of Account to the Delhi Sanskrit Academy in which the Mr Semwal was Secretary and now Vice Chairman.

19) Whether the CVC were aware of the facts about the financial irregularities committed by Mr Semwal. If yes then details of action taken against Mr Semawal. Whether the CVC had sent any advice suggesting action against Mr Semwal.

20) Whether the CVC would direct the police administration (including CBI and ACB, Delhi Police) to initiate criminal cases against the person who is still in service in Delhi Sanskrit Academy and its affiliated school/colleges by dint of fake and forge certificate issued by Mr Semwal and others as mentioned in enquiry report of 46 pages which was conducted by the ACB at the behest of CBI.


Four different PIOs replied to the RTI application. The CPIO and deputy accountant general (Admin) vide his letter dated 12 October 2009 replied in respect of query no 16, 17 and 18. The CPIO (ACL) vide his letter dated 31 August 2009 replied in respect of all queries.

The PIO and ACP of Anti-Corruption Branch vide his letter dated 25 August 2009 replied to all queries while the PIO and asst director (vigilance) vide his letter dated 4 September 2009 replied in respect of query no 2, 11, 12, 13 and 14.


However, Dharam Raj, citing incomplete information provided by the PIOs,   files his first appeals with respective authorities. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) and special executive, in his order, concurred with the reply given by the PIO and further disposed off the appeal observing that the Appellant could not state any reason for his dissatisfaction with the reply of the PIO.


The FAA and deputy commissioner of Police, ACB, in his order dated 6 October 2009 concurred with the reply of the PIO and further stated that there was no malafide intention on the part of PIO to hide any information sought by the Appellant.


The FAA and Joint Secretary (Vigilance) in his order dated 6 November 2009 stated that after the discussion, the Appellant was satisfied with the reply of the PIO.


Due to incomplete information received from the PIO, Dharam Raj, then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, he stated that he had sought information regarding a complaint filed with the ACB on embezzlement of funds in 1996. After four years, the ACB sent a report to Directorate of Vigilance (DoV), GNCTD. The inquiry report had been prepared on 30 July 1999 and was sent to DoV on 6 October 2000, he said.


"After that this report has been slowly moved over a period of years to the Art Culture and Language Department for taking actions. The Art Culture and Language Department will probably take some decades to decide the matter. If there is no substance in the allegation perhaps, an honest man is being vilified. And if there has been an actual embezzlement of public funds the various departments by their well-rehearsed slow dance movements are effectively colluding in ensuring that no action has been taken against the guilty," Dharam Raj stated.


Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, said that "...from the information before the Commission it is evident that ACB itself fist took three years to conduct the inquiries and then kept the report for over a year before forwarding it to the Vigilance Department. From information provided to the appellant by the PIO of Vigilance Department it appears that the Vigilance Department send the report to the Principle Secretary, Art Culture and Language Dept on 10 January 2001".


While allowing the appeal, the Commission, directed the PIO of ACB to provide copy of the complete inquiry report to Dharam Raj before 20 April 2010. The CIC also directed the PIO of Art, Culture and Language department to inform and send a copy of the vigilance report and all correspondence and file notings in this matter.


Mr Gandhi, before parting with the matter said, "...the Commission expresses its distress at the extraordinary slow methods in which inquiries are conducted and inaction becomes the primary characteristic of such events."




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000527/7439


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000527


Appellant                                            : Dharam Raj

                                                            New Delhi 110043.


Respondent 1                                     : Shakuntla Joshi

                                                            PIO & Dy. Secretary

                                                            Art Culture and Language

                                                            Govt. of NCT of Delhi

                                                            7th Level, C-Wing, Delhi Sect.,

                                                            IP Estate, New Delhi 110002


Respondent 2                                    : Hira Lal

                                                            Public Information Officer &

                                                            Asst. Commissioner of Police

                                                            Anti-Corruption Branch,

                                                            Directorate of Vigilance,

                                                            Govt. of NCT of Delhi

                                                            Room No. 178-184, Old Sect.,



To read other entries of the RTI Judgement Series on Moneylife, please click here

Free Helpline
Legal Credit