Govt moves to shield retired officials from investigation


Seeking to give immunity to officials from prosecution for their policy decisions even after retirement, the government has planned to ask Parliament to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The amendment, which is likely to be placed before the cabinet this week, will make it mandatory for investigating agencies such as the CBI to get prior permission of the government to act against retired officers of the rank of joint secretary and above.

At the same time, it says if the charges are proved then the wealth gained through corrupt practices will be confiscated.

The note moved by the Department of Personnel and Training says that investigating agencies have to secure the Centre's prior permission to charge officers for decisions taken by them in "bona fide discharge of their service".

This will bring them at par with serving officers.

Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, officers of the rank of joint secretary and above can be chargesheeted for acts of commission and omission only when they are in service. But of late, the demand to chargesheet officers post-retirement too has acquired momentum.

The amendment proposal is considered significant as a large number of projects are now held up and are hurting the economy as senior officers fear retribution after retirement.

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