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‘Punjab Vigilance Bureau now more active than before’



Chandigarh: Be it the case of IAS Sanjay Popli’s son’s alleged suicide or arresting ex-Forest minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot at the wee hours, the Vigilance Bureau of Punjab has surely gained momentum in its working style as it has been a department in hibernation in previous years. Since the Aam Aadmi Party’s conception, the Vigilance Bureau of Punjab is now more active than in previous years. Being more active is inviting more challenges and questions about the working style of the Vigilance Bureau. The AAP government has started an Anti-Corruption Cell which is receiving calls 24X7 and is playing a role in fighting corruption in Punjab. It has had two-way traffic all these years. The Sunday Guardian spoke to the Chief of Vigilance Bureau, IPS Varinder Kumar, and tried to know what challenges they are facing when they arrest the big fish. Excerpts:
Q: Why arrest ex-Forest minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot at the wee hours of midnight, it could have been at 5 am rather than 3 am when he was arrested?
A: We have some inputs and shreds of evidence against Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and his OSD that they might leave the country. We did not wish to lose any time; so we chose this time.
Q: There is an allegation on the Vigilance Bureau that they killed IAS Sanjay Popli’s son and Sanjay Popli, too, blames the department, while the department personnel made the statement that the incident happened when they left Popli’s house, how does the department handle such allegations?
A: The statement of the Vigilance Bureau personnel is already there in the public domain. As far as the death of Kartik Popli is concerned, I personally and my whole department got shocked by this news and we felt truly pained that no one should see this day ever. The allegation that they made was completely baseless, rest let the law take its course.
Q: As per Vigilance Bureau’s DSP Ajay Kumar, the 20 kg gold recovery was made on the information of Popli which was found to be true, then how come Sanjay Popli could lie when he alleged the department had killed his son?
A: We can understand the plight of a father who has lost his son. So far as his allegations are concerned, our personnel went there for recovery and we do not have any reason to kill someone’s son. This is not our job. Yet, as I said before that these allegations are completely baseless and we all should trust the law of land.
Q: The department is seeing more complaints than in previous years, any reason behind it?How does the department identify the real complaints as ex-minister Dharamsot has blamed the Vigilance of arresting him based on a diary?
A: We had sufficient evidence to arrest Dharamsot. We are getting complaints on the anti-corruption action line 9501 200 200. Since 23.03.2022, a total of 2,88,107 entries/complaints have been received till date. As many as 3,659 complaints have been received with audio/video recordings. A total of 1,781 complaints were found to be related to other departments, which have been forwarded to the departments concerned. As many as 1,736 complaints were found irrelevant, junk posts, etc., which are general.
A total of 142 complaints were received having audio/video recordings about Vigilance Bureau; 33 FIRs have been registered based on complaints received at the anti-corruption action line till date in various Police stations of the Vigilance Bureau (Amritsar-3, Jalandhar-7, Jalandhar Rural-1, Ludhiana-5, Hoshiarpur-1, Ferozepur-5, Rupnagar-5, Patiala-3, Bathinda-1, and Flying Squad Punjab, Mohali-2); 51 persons have been arrested/bailed out so far in the aforementioned 33 FIRs (civilians-24, police officials-14, Civil Department-13).
If going by the official data of the Vigilance Bureau, the Punjab government has registered 12 trap cases against two Gazetted Officers, 12 Non-Gazetted Officers, and one private person and have been caught red-handed while accepting illegal gratification. Besides, 49 criminal cases have also been registered wherein 10 Gazetted Officers, 52 Non-Gazetted Officers, and 37 private persons were involved. During the period under report, five vigilance enquiries were registered in which four Non-Gazetted Officers and three private persons were involved. Nine vigilance enquiries were finalized during the period these three months after the conception of AAP.
Comparing it with last year during the period from 1.03.2021 to 23.03.2022, 75 trap cases against 11 Gazetted Officers, 83 Non-Gazetted Officers, and 19 private persons, who were caught red-handed while accepting illegal gratification, were registered. Apart from this, 48 criminal cases were registered in which nine Gazetted Officers, 69 Non-Gazetted Officers, and 48 private persons were involved.Three cases about disproportionate assets were registered in which two Gazetted Officers and two Non-Gazetted Officers were involved. During the period under report, 61 vigilance enquiries were registered in which 27 Gazetted Officers, 39 Non-Gazetted Officers, and 34 private persons were involved; 49 vigilance enquiries were finalized during the period.

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KPK Names Bangkalan Regent as Suspect of Corruption




8 December 2022 08:44 WIB

The Bangkalan Regent, Abdul Latif Amin Imron, underwent further investigation after being forcibly arrested in Surabaya by KPK investigators, upon arrival at the Corruption Eradication Commission building, Jakarta, Wednesday evening, December 7 2022. The KPK Investigative Team arrested the Bangkalan Regent along with five other suspects, to checked further. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has officially named the Regent of Bangkalan Abdul Latif Amin Imron as a suspect of corruption within an East Java government institution as investigators suspect the Regent of transacting positions for financial gain.  

“We have tracked down and named the Bangkalan Regent as a suspect,” said KPK chairperson Firli Bahuri on Thursday, December 8. 

Abdul Latif will be detained for the next 20 days after undergoing further interrogation at the East Java Police Headquarters before moving to the KPK penitentiary. 

The Bangkalan Regent, the KPK chairman said, had allegedly received Rp5.3 billion bribe regarding selling positions within the government institution. Five other suspects were incriminated in the crime and have all been detained. 


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Peru: Police arrest president after Congress votes to remove him from power | World News




Police in Peru have arrested the country’s president, Pedro Castillo, after Congress voted to remove him from power.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, the National Police of Peru said officers had “intervened”.

A photograph showed a man in a blue jacket sitting on a sofa – apparently Mr Castillo – but his eyes had been blacked out.

The tweet described him as “former president Pedro Castillo”.

Congress voted to remove Mr Castillo and replace him with Vice President Dina Boluarte after he tried to dissolve the legislature, the AP news agency reported.

Ms Boluarte, a 60-year-old lawyer, has since been sworn in as interim president. She becomes Peru’s first female leader.

Representatives voted 101-6, with 10 abstentions, to remove Mr Castillo from office for reasons of “permanent moral incapacity”.

Shortly before the ballot, Mr Castillo said he was installing a new emergency government and called for the next group of representatives to develop a new constitution.

During a televised address, he said he would rule by decree and ordered a nightly curfew starting on Wednesday night.

He also mooted changes in the leadership of the judiciary, police and constitutional court.

Politicians celebrate after voting to remove Pedro Castillo
Politicians celebrate after voting to remove Pedro Castillo

In response, the head of Peru’s army resigned, along with four ministers, including those responsible for foreign affairs and the economy.

Mr Castillo took his actions as his opponents in Congress moved towards a third attempt to remove him from office.

The Ombudsman’s Office, an independent government institution, said prior to the congressional vote that Mr Castillo should resign and present himself to judicial authorities.

Mr Castillo, a peasant-turned-president, has denied allegations of corruption against him, saying they are based on “hearsay statements by people who, seeking to lighten their own punishments for supposed crimes by abusing my confidence, are trying to involve me without evidence”.

Federal prosecutors are investigating six cases against him, most of them for alleged corruption.

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Anti-corruption groups, White House back money laundering bill in Congress




By Gram Slattery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. anti-corruption groups are pushing Congress to attach sweeping new money-laundering rules to a year-end bill funding the government that lawmakers aim to pass in the coming weeks, according to aides and lobbyists.

The bipartisan measure, known as the ENABLERS Act, got a boost this week when the White House publicly came out in support of the bill.

“It’s going to really matter that the administration makes absolutely clear that this is a genuine serious priority for them,” Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said on Wednesday.

The measure would require professionals who handle money on behalf of clients – including investment managers and some lawyers – to conduct due diligence on the funds’ origins, as banks are typically required to do.

Boosters and opponents say the measure would be the most ambitious overhaul of the nation’s money laundering framework in at least 20 years.

“The ENABLERS Act is the U.S. anti-corruption community’s top priority right now,” said Scott Greytak, director of advocacy at Transparency International’s U.S. branch.

Supporters said they hope to attach the measure to a $1.5 trillion-plus “omnibus” funding bill. The initial deadline for that is Dec. 16, though lawmakers could extend it through a short-term continuing resolution, a possibility which appears increasingly likely.

Failing that, a standalone bill is possible next year, though that could be tougher in a divided Congress with a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled Senate.

Groups from Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and elsewhere have thrown their support behind the measure, according to an October letter to congressional leaders seen by Reuters. These groups see ENABLERS as a way to cut illicit Russian capital out of the U.S. financial system.

Industry associations counter that it would create onerous requirements for small businesses who never cross paths with Russian oligarchs or narcotics kingpins. Bar associations argue that lawyers would be obligated to share potentially privileged information about their clients with the government.

Organizations that have lobbied against the bill, according to lobbying disclosures, include cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and auction house operator Sotheby’s.

Retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who has expressed skepticism about the measure, said it should not be tacked onto a spending bill – a legislative shortcut – and should instead be considered on a stand-alone basis.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Scott Malone and Stephen Coates)

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