Odisha Lokayukta wants State Vigilance Department under its control

The Odisha Lokayukta, an oversight authority deputed to curb corruption-related malice, has sent a formal proposal to the Naveen Patnaik government to bring the affairs of the state vigilance department under its direct jurisdiction. The move was necessitated by the Lokayukta board to boost the trust and credibility of its office and to enhance the transparency of operations, a release noted.

Odisha had last year commissioned its first Lokayukta Board under the Odisha Lokayukta Act 2014, having the former justice of Guwahati High Court as its chairperson and three others as its members. It was observed that a lack of a dedicated investigation agency in the Lokayukta’s office had resulted in a piling up of over fifty per cent of the cases submitted before it. The total number of pending cases has increased manifold hence and is presently pegged at around 1800 cases.

Former Supreme Court judge Ananga Patnaik noted that the Lokayukta would be greatly emboldened if the Vigilance Department was entrusted to it. “The Odisha Lokayukta does not have an investigation agency of its own and has to entrust the investigation to other agencies. The investigation agency entrusted with the investigation may not be impartial and may also delay the investigation. This step of putting the directorate of vigilance under the Odisha Lokayukta will also ensure that investigation into corruption cases are speedy, credible and free from political influences,” Patnaik said.