How Anurag Verma's appointment as Punjab Chief Secretary will amp up sanction rate of pending prosecution for Vigilance?

A review meeting of the Vigilance Bureau is expected to take place in the upcoming days in Chandigarh which Anurag Verma is expected to join and amp up pending prosecution cases

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Government of Punjab on Monday announced that the 1993 batch IAS Officer Anurag Verma will be the new Chief Secretary of Punjab. Anurag Verma will take over the charge from incumbent Vijay Kumar Janjua on July 1. VK Janjua will be retiring on June 30 and following that Anurag Verma will hold the key position. Notably, Anurag Verma was posted as the Principal Secretary, Home Affairs & Justice, Punjab before he was appointed as the Chief Secretary of the State. He was also given the additional charge of principal secretary (elections) when he was appointed to the Home Department. With Anurag Verma is all set to take over the Chief Secretary post, True Scoop News has learned that he will have a major focus on eradicating corruption and therefore the Vigilance Bureau will get a great boost in their crackdown against 'tainted officers' and even leaders. True Scoop News has also learned that the Vigilance Bureau is awaiting mandatory permission to investigate multiple IAS officers' PA in the disproportionate assets case.

How will Anurag Verma's appointment help the Vigilance Bureau?

As per sources, a review meeting of the Vigilance Bureau is expected to take place in the upcoming days in Chandigarh. In the meeting, Anurag Verma is likely to see the corruption cases which are to get permission for investigation. Verma is expected to give a nod to multiple corruption cases against retired as well as current officers. This will help Punjab's Vigilance Bureau to amp up its investigation in the crackdown on corruption in the State. Sources privy to the development further informed that the Vigilance Bureau had asked for approval for the prosecution of approx 150 cases in which the Bureau were given the go-ahead in many cases while many were pending. Therefore, after the appointment of Anurag Verma, the Vigilance Bureau is expecting a speedy nod for the prosecution of the pending cases of corruption.

When VK Janjua was Chief Secretary, the Vigilance Bureau made headlines for its stern action against corruption and it bolstered the faith of the people in the Bhagwant Mann government which came into power over the 'no tolerance against corruption' policy. Many IAS, IPS, and PCS officers came under the scanner of the Vigilance under disproportionate assets cases, however, many cases were also stuck at other levels. Since Anurag Verma and the Vigilance Bureau Chief Varinder Sharma is of the 1993 batch IAS officer, it is expected that there will be much more synchronization between the Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Vigilance Bureau.

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Anurag Verma is known for his straightforward and strict nature. He is not known for accommodating people and also does not enjoy a great social life, which turned out to be a boon for him and the State government for its vision to eradicate corruption. Now, only time will tell, how much fruitful Anurag Verma's appointment will turn out to be for the government of Punjab and especially Mann's vision of a 'corruption-free state'. However, it is expected that Verma will act as a catalyst and remove the hindrance Vigilance faced in taking action against tainted officers.

What happened in the last 'prosecution pending cases'?

The Chief of Vigilance Bureau in a meeting with CM Mann and Chief Secretary VK Janjua had stated that their crackdown on corruption has slowed down due to delays in the sanction of prosecutions by various departments. In the meeting that took place between CM Mann and higher officials of the Vigilance Bureau, it was discussed that AAP’s zero tolerance against corruption goal is getting hindered due to pendency in cases that should be resolved soon. Based on the data, the total number of cases pending for Prosecution Sanction u/s 19 PC Act are 65 whereas total number of cases pending for previous approval u/s 17-A PC Act are 51. Following that Punjab Chief Secretary Mr Vijay Kumar Janjua had directed all the departments to expedite the pending vigilance cases in their respective departments to further check the menace of corruption.