corruption-free India has everything it takes to become a world power. I lapse into despair when economists explain what India is losing due to corruption at various levels. There is nothing to feel great as India continues to languish as an underdeveloped nation despite all its capabilities and opportunities galore. As a journalist reporting on the goings on in various departments of the government, I got an insight into the unbridled corruption in the bureaucracy. As I began talking to the officials of various investigative agencies, I started understanding the all-pervasive nature of corruption. I began doing my probe on various cases of financial misdemeanors booked by the ACB. This brought me face-to-face with corruption and all its brazenness and gore. I understood how deep-rooted the malaise is. I used to wonder why the ACB traps minnows while leaving the biggies. Later, I realized that minnows or biggies, the ACB would be able to convict the corrupt only when the case is backed by solid and incontrovertible evidence. Most people believe that only the politicos are corrupt. They fail to realize that government officials, corporate honchos and private sector is no less corrupt. How to eliminate corruption and who should eliminate it? The Government, a set of legal provisions or the agencies implementing them alone cannot eliminate corruption. I firmly believe that it is the people â€“ the vast multitudes of them â€“ who should wage an unceasing war against the scourge of corruption. It is a sin to confine our angst against corruption to mere drawing room debates. Silence about corruption is a bigger sin than the corruption itself. The darkness all around is dispelled by a ray of light. The light needs to be protected, preserved and perpetuated. Fighting corruption calls for the synergistic involvement of everyone. This light will illuminate India and its people. This special edition is a small step towards that giant leap. This is not a volume to be confined to your book rack, but an action plan that triggers positive thoughts in combating corruption. India is our country and we shall rid this country of corruption. This is our fight. And let us not expect someone else to clean our Augean stables!
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AnnA HAzAre: The icon of Anti corruption movement
Political baffle... A death knell to Enforcement!
PC Act... Strength and Weaknesses
Step towards a corruption free society...
Corruption in media
Lokpal… What Next?...
Paltry bribes plunder nation’s wealth...
Photographs P Prasad
Printed & Published by Pandarinath Prabhala on behalf of FAIR media,
Facts & Fiction Corruption in Pvt. Sector
‘Dharma’ deters corruption
Printed at Sunita Art Printers, Hyderabad.
A threat to Nation’s Security
Corruption is Mahan in Mera Bharat
The Corruption Goliath
Lathi & The loot
‘Now or Never’ plunge
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A death knell to Enforcement! Excessive power in the hands of the rulers and eternal interference by the politicians with the bureaucratic functioning are only adding to the inefficiency of the system. Significant suggestions for separating the investigative wing from the law and order duties and for bringing about changes in the rules of evidence still lie unattended, says India’s former CBI chief Joginder Singh
he corruption scenario and the way it is being handled does not inspire much hope for the man in the street, who feels there is no way out and that he has to live with it. Political leaders pay lip service to the idea of corruption-free India and a vast majority of them are in fact partners in crime. Even those that are not corrupt, not just tolerate it, but even allow it to flourish and when it suits them, turn a Nelson’s eye to it. There has been no Prime Minister who has not raised a voice against it. But the matter has always
rested as another brave speech. It was the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, way back in August, 2002 reiterated the Government’s commitment for ‘zero tolerance to corruption’ and reaffirmed that "the Government shall not bring any kind of pressure in the working of CBI or any other constitutional agency. ‘Zero tolerance’ to corruption has become some kind of a joke and has been virtually replaced by ‘zero intolerance’ for any action against it. Post liberalisation, opportunities for corruption have
Joginder Singh only increased. Policy reforms, legal remedies or even the modern techniques of investigation have failed to curb them. The result is the death knell of the enforcement, which is compounded by the problem of legal pendency. The backlog or pendency as on February 2006 was: Supreme Court 33,635 High Courts 33,41,040 Subordinate Courts 2,53,06,458 We have a very generous, procriminal and proaccused criminal justice system. The accused take advantage by going for layers after layers of legal institutions to delay the nemesis. By that time the accused may pass away or even the witnesses may die. Investigation is the first step in finding out the truth of any complaint made to the Police. Sometimes consciously or unconsciously, some angularities slip in, especially when the high profile cases involving powerful people become subject matter of police investigation. It is futile to deny that in the absence of strict supervision by upright officers sometimes loopholes are not covered or deliberately left as they are.
“Facts are many but... the truth is one” - Rabindranath Tagore A question, which is frequently raised in seminars, discussion and social parties is how is it that big fish get away or even if caught are treated with kid gloves. One thing is very clear. The executive (CBI and the Police included), which works under the elected representatives, is not an independent entity. The officials naturally look to the left, right and the centre, before proceeding with the case. The Chief Justice of India, while addressing a conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of the High Courts on 11th March, 2006 hit the nail on the head, when he said that “The country’s justice delivery system appears to be on the verge of collapse. Not much has been done for the improvement of investigative and prosecution machinery. Significant suggestions for separating the investigative wing from the law and order duties and for bringing about changes in the rules of evidence still lie unattended. The public outrage over the failure of the criminal justice system in some high profile cases must shake us all up into the realisation that something needs to be urgently done to revamp the whole process, though steering clear of knee-jerk reactions, remembering that law is a serious business”. The truth is that the entire criminal justice is based on the premise that people are willing to state truth in a court of law under oath without
bothering about their own safety or personal expenditure to be incurred or the time to be spent in giving evidence. This is apart from the harassment that the witnesses face from the Defence. To give a personal example once I asked my wife, to drop me at the nearest taxi stand, as the Government staff car did not come on time for the flight to Kolkata. While coming back home to the Curzon Road apartments her car was hit by a rashly-driven bus. As I was away in Kolkata, I asked her to immediately report the case to the Police. This happened in 1979. The case came up after eleven years. The Lawyer for the accused, asked her whether her eyesight was OK and whether she really knew driving, (though she had been driving for last ten years), and why did she not take preventive measures to avoid the bus ramming into her car. In all this, she had no intervention or help of the prosecutor. She told me that she was made to feel like an accused rather than an aggrieved party. It is for this reason that nobody wants to be involved with the police or criminal justice system, as there is a lot of harassment in being a court witness. After undergoing an agonising and humiliating experience, the witness is not compensated for the loss of the earning of the day. The result is that people fight shy of extending a helping hand to police and
only those that have an axe to grind help them. The witness’ problems arise because he was unfortunate enough to be at the scene of the crime, because he was ‘reckless and foolish’ enough to remain there till the police arrived or because he was still being more idiotic by agreeing to to become a witness. Sometime the witnesses incur the wrath of hardened criminals and are deprived of their lives or limbs. In fact, more high profile a case is, the more are chances of they being harassed. There is every possibility of miscarriage of justice due to the reluctance of the public to appear as a witness. It has happened in many high profile cases, where persons committing crimes have got away with it. Moreover the political class, regardless of party affiliations, are a Biradari and go all out to protect each other. In UP, a minister and an MLA were caught on camera accepting bribe. There was uproar - not on the corrupt practices, but as to why the sting operation was done. In Punjab, when a raid was conducted and a corrupt official was caught, the minister concerned had protested as to why his permission was not taken for conducting the raid. The catalogue of the politicians indulging in corruption would turn out to be bigger than the Webster’s dictionary. Even after being con-
victed, politicians would like to enjoy in jail all the perks that go with their office. Even after being convicted, Bir Singh Mahato, Forward Bloc MP from Purulia in West Bengal, sought the suspension of his 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in a rape case to attend a session of Parliament. Thankfully, the Supreme Court rightly declined to accede to. The people expect all such cases to end in the conviction. They expect exemplary punishment, especially if the accused is highly connected or holds a high position either in the Government or outside it. Despite the recommendations of several commissions and committees, no steps have been taken by the Government to set the matters right. Natu-
rally, the investigative agencies feel demoralised when all their efforts to get high profile people convicted prove futile. It is time that our search for good governance should end at least in 21st century. It is not asking too much to attain some reasonable level of good governance. Excessive power in the hands of the rulers and eternal interference by the politicians with the bureaucratic functioning are only adding to the inefficiency of the system. Vigilant people, who can exercise their powers under the Right to Information, can help improve the situation. An independent Media and the tools of sting operations are a great repertory to deal with this all pervading phenomenon of corrup-
tion. Good Governance should ensure the maximisation of peopleâ€™s welfare, by providing an atmosphere of peace and order. There should be no question of going soft on the criminals in any sphere of society. The Government should unleash the full force of the law and each one of the corrupt should be pursued relentlessly and pursued till they are annihilated. Then only we can stand up and measure to Rabindranath Tagoreâ€™s idea of a country where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. (The author is IPS (retd) & Former Director of CBI)
The gallery of infamous...
Step towards corruption free society Why are we appearing so helpless when it comes to fighting corruption? Why are we not enforcing the anti-corroption laws with all our might? Is it because the Governament lacks the necessary will to ensure corruption –free administration? Is it because the enforcing agencies are unable to stand up to the so-called political pressure? Is it because there is an there is an unholy collusion between unscrupulous public servant and the politician, asks former DGP AK MOHANTY
ast year in April, an aspirant for Civil services turned up to me seeking advice and guidance for his forthcoming UPSC interview. After discussing some of the political, economic, social and environmental issues, I casually asked him as to what did he think of corruption in the administration and what would he do if he becames a civil servant. “What can I do all alone sir? Corruption is so very rampant and all pervasive. It has become a global phenomenon. I may have to live with it”. I was shocked and speechless for a while and failed to decide as how to respond to a young man in 20s whom, I thought would convey his spirited determination to root out corruption. I wondered whether it was the voice of the young and the aspiring or the expression of disgust and helplessness of the millions. It is, however, not uncommon to hear such sentiments even from several well-intentioned and concerned citizens. Looks like most of us are getting reconciled to live with this ugly reality and to tolerate and even abet wide-spread corruption directly or indirectly. Paying a bribe or solicit-
ing influence for a birth or death certificate, a ration card, a loan, a patta and host of legitimate services appears to be common, inevitable and accepted norm. Is it a surrender of the conscience or is it the compulsions of living? Whatever it may be, it is an invitation to increasing harassment, humiliation and compromise of individual honour and dignity. The reason given for such a state of helplessness might vary but the facts remains that we are making
our future more miserable for the sake of immediate convenience. Why is it that self-respecting citizens who pride themselves about our Constitution that guarantees justice, equality and liberty are getting compelled to compromise? Why can’t we muster enough courage to fight corruption that is eating into the very vitals and energies of our society? Who is to be held responsible for the perpetuation of corruption? Is it the politician, Bureaucrat, Indiffer-
ent citizens? Or is it the lack of social and political will or all of them put together? A very easy escape for most of us in the society and particularly those in bureaucracy is to blame the solely politicians for the all-pervading corruption. But there are reasons to feel otherwise. Why can’t public servants resist illegal orders? What happens if the pressure from a politician is politely ignored? Why shouldn’t rules and procedures be followed in letter and spirit? A transfer, a vindictive inquiry and a posting to a dog house are worth facing in the struggle for a corruptionfree society. No political leader can misuse his position and defeat public interest without the help and collusion of willing and obliging public servants. However, instances of many politician heeding to sane and sensible advice of the public servants are not found wanting in this country. Then what is the compulsion of pliable public servants - high or low - who become party to unholy doings. Is it of fear, compromise for peace or is it because of desire to gain direct or indirect benefit under the cover and guise of so called political pressure. The answers are not too far to seek. An impression has successfully been created and widely accepted that lower the rank of the public servant higher the level of corruption. I do not know whether I should call it a myth. How can there be widespread and rampant corruption at lower level if higher-ups are efficient and honest. Are the higherups doing enough to prevent irregularities and corrupt practices? Are we inclined to fix up accountability at higher level? What is it that prompts us to conclude that public servants at lower level are more corrupt?
Why can’t we see beyond-themeans affluence and ostentation of quite a few high-level public servants? Whey can’t any anti-corruption agency trap a senior bureaucrat or launch an inquiry into his assets without seeking permission from the Government when public servant at the lower level can be investigated or booked without any such permission? Why should we presume or accept that demoralization sets in at the top level if there is an anti-corruption drive against them? Why do
there is no denying of the fact that a more stringent anti-corruption law and laws for attachment and confiscation of property are welcome. But we should not plead absolute helplessness citing inadequacies in the existing legal provisions.
we presume that anti-corruption actions against higher ups could smack of bias and prejudice when same yardstick is not applicable to lowerlevel functionaries? Several such questions need to be answered objectively and dispassionately. Virtues cannot be the monopoly of the high and mighty in politics and administration. ‘Take care of the pound and the penny will take care of itself ’ should be the maxim if the anti-corruption drive is to be truly effective. Let us not eternally blame the system and divert the attention by talking about the need for a change in the system to begin up a drive. Let us get on to action and treat everyone in an equitable yardstick and optimise everything that is available for fighting corruption. As we get down to cleanse the system, a section would always come forward pointing out inadequacies in the existing law i.e. Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. There is no denying of the fact that a more stringent anti-corruption law and laws for
attachment and confiscation of property are welcome. But we should not plead absolute helplessness citing inadequacies in the existing legal provisions and the system. Effective and imaginate implementation of section 7,8,9,11 and 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act supported by internal vigelence mechanisms can yield effective and deterrent results. While investigations of cases under Section 13(1)(d) sub-clause (iii), which states that a public servant is said to have committed offence of criminal misconduct, ‘while holding office as public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest’. This could be extensively and effectively used in hitting at the very root of patronage and consequential corruption. This offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine. This Section covers actions of public servants which cause wrongful gain to individuals and consequential loss to public authority and are against public interest. The scope of this section is very wide and it can effectively de-
molish the sense of invincibility of the corrupt. Then why are we appearing so helpless? Why are we not enforcing the anti-corruption laws with all their might? Is it because the Government lacks the will to ensure corruption-free administration? Is it because the enforcing agencies are unable to stand up to the so-called political pressure? Is it because their is an unholy collusion between the unscrupulous public servant and the politician? The reasons could be anything. We cannot sit quiet and wait for a miracle to happen. Citizens need to go beyond mere drawing room discussions and taking part in token protests to express their disgust.
We need to resort to a “social boycott” of the dishonest and corrupt public servants. A boycott of a nature that makes them feels the futility of being corrupt. there should be no room for misplaced sympathy or broad generalizations.
There is need for a determined display of will and resolve not to pay bribe. True, the citizens do not find it easy to take recourse to judicial intervention. Yet they cannot sit quiet. We need to resort to “social boycott” of the dishonest and corrupt public servants. A boycott of a nature that make them feels the futility of being corrupt. There should be no room for misplaced sympathy or broad generalizations. We have to shed our indifference and resist this evil practice through representation, demand for inquiry and by seeking judicial intervention. We should pressurise the Government machinery to act against the corrupt and bring about necessary changes in the law and the system. The country is today witnessing a wind of change. Hitherto silent majority have started speaking up to register their protest. The teeming millions do not want to be mute spectators any longer. Let the movement be strengthened and each one of us contribute our mite to change the society for a better tomorrow. (The author is Ex-DGP of AP is also well known for his contribution in ACB, Vigilence & Enforcement)
Lokpal… What Next? It requires great resolve, tact, spirit of accommodation and pragmatic approach on the part of all players – the Government, political parties, Opposition, and civil society to achieve the coveted Lokpal Bill, argues Lok Satta chief dr JayaprakaShnarayan JAyAprAKAShnArAyAn
he much-anticipated law creating a strong, independent, high Ombudsman is still delayed. Inevitably, there is a lot of blame throwing and finger-pointing going on. What went wrong, and what can we do to set things right? Even in the best case scenario, it is hard to persuade law makers to create a Ombudsman that will swiftly investigate and ensure punishment for acts of corruption and wrong doing by those in political executive, legislature and senior bureaucracy. It requires great resolve, tact, spirit of accommodation and pragmatic approach. In this case, all players – the Government, political parties, opposition, and civil society – committed follies. The government failed to incorporate a few more key provisions inspiring confidence in the public; and where the Bill has good provisions, it failed to take its alliance partners on board, and failed to effectively communicate the strong features of the Bill. Therefore its approach was reactive, defensive and delayed. The parties that opposed the Bill indulged in cynical grand-standing and allowed the impossible best to be the enemy of the possible good. They allowed red-herring like “assault on states” to dominate the debate went back on the commitment of the Parliament.
Civil society, instead of understanding the complexity kept changing the goal posts and acted with unconcealed contempt and hostility. Now is the time for all players to take a deep breath, and spare some time for sober reflection. The Lokpal and Lok Ayukta Bill before Parliament has certain deficiencies. The Ombudsman has no suo motu powers and has no investigative agency of its own. The fetters on CBI and ACB still remain in respect of cases not monitored by Lokpal / Lok Ayukta in the form of prior government clearance for investigation (Section 6A of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act), and prior approval for prosecution (Section 19 of Prevention of Corrup-
tion Act, and Section 197 of CrPC). State ACBs remain completely under government control in respect of appointment of director and other officials, and superintendence and guidance. These weaknesses need to be addressed. However, the Bill did propose extremely strong and independent Ombudsmen. Everybody – PM, CM, Ministers, MPs, MLAs, senior officials – is brought within the jurisdiction of Lokpal / Lokayukta. Junior officials and employees too are brought under Lokpal through CVC. CBI director will be appointed by a totally bipartisan committee of PM, Leader of Opposition (LoP), and CJI, in which government has only one vote out of three. CBI officials
will be appointed by a five member committee of the full CVC and two secretaries to government in consultation with the director. The CBI and ACB will be accountable to Lokpal / Lok Ayukta in respect of all investigations ordered by them. Prosecution of cases and creation of special courts are within Lokpal / Lok Ayukta purview. Attachment of properties by Lokpal / Lok Ayukta and confiscation by special courts are incorporated in the Bill. Provisions relating to appointment and removal of Lokpal / Lok Ayukta ensure their independence. All these and other provisions give real and substantive authority to Ombudsmen. The talk of a weak and partisan Lokpal / Lok Ayukta is a sad reflection of political rhetoric divorced from facts. In particular, two issues dominated the Parliamentary debate and derailed the legislation. They pertain to autonomy of CBI and Constitutionality of Lok Ayukta provisions. A detailed examination of these two issues would be useful in finding answers to resolve the impasse. The director of CBI will be appointed by the committee of PM, LoP and the CJI. This is an extra-ordinary provision, which is not applicable even to the Constitutional authorities like Election Commission, CAG, UPSC etc. All officers of the rank of SP and above shall be appointed by the three-member CVC and two secretaries to government, and the five-member committee shall consult the director on these appointments. CVC exercises general superintendence of CBI. In respect of cases referred by Lokpal, CBI will report to Lokpal. Similarly, CVC will report to Lokpal in respect of cases referred to it. In addition to all these provisions, Section 38 gives extra-ordinary powers to Lokpal in respect
of corruption allegations against its own officers, and officers and employees of all anti-corruption agencies including CBI and CVC. Lokpal has powers of suspension, prosecution and disciplinary action against erring officials of all these agencies. In the face of these provisions, it is churlish to argue that CBI will be under government control. The much-talked about administrative control of government is limited to two issues – budget and cadre control. Both these must be understood in perspective. CBI’s real challenge in the future dispensation will not be government control. It will be capacity-building. There are only 6000 personnel in the CBI with nation-wide jurisdiction. Of these, only about 2000 are investigators. The number of corruption cases registered by CBI is of the order of 1000 every year. Obviously, these are miniscule numbers in the face of a massive national problem. ACBs suffer even more in terms of inadequate staff, infrastructure and capacity. We need to have a plan and action programme to expand CBI almost ten-fold over the next ten years if the agency has to respond to the growing challenge and serve the country effectively. This should be coupled with adequate infrastructure for surveillance, forensic laboratories, communications and mobility. Similar capacity – enhancement is required in state ACBs. All these require significant budgetary commitments. While control of budget should remain with Parliament and government, there should be firm commitment to expand the agencies and provide adequate resources to them. All the laws in the world cannot improve the situation unless the enforcement agencies are strong and effective. Regarding cadre control, government’s role cannot be dispensed
with, because CBI is largely populated by officials of various other agencies drawn from a variety of sources. Even the senior IPS officials are drawn from states, because they belong to an All-India Service. Consequently, several matters of coordination, seniority, encadrement, availability of officials and consent of states and parent agencies can be handled only by the government. Therefore the argument that CBI, in the new dispensation, has no real autonomy is weak and unsustainable. Clearly, we have to be cautious in creating a strong, independent investigative agency, lest we create a state within-state like ISI with its own agenda and being accountable to none. But there is no case to retain Section 6A of DSPE Act, and Section 19 of PCA and Section 197 of CRPC in respect of corruption matters. These sections should be repealed, or amended suitably so that CBI is not fettered in its work. Prior sanction of prosecution, if still required, can be entrusted to Lokpal. That will guarantee full autonomy of CBI. There seem to be two competing approaches on CBI’s superintendence. Many argue that CBI must be under the single, unified superintendence of Lokpal, instead of multiple loci of power – CVC for most matters, and Lokpal for matters related to cases referred by it. Government and many parties seem to be concerned about the dangers of a monolithic, unaccountable organization running amok. There may also be issues of Parliament’s prestige, and the desire not to be seen to have been dictated by those outside Parliament. The result is a somewhat inelegant, but well-meant, combination of measures: CBI director’s appointment by a high-powered Committee with equal participation of govern-
“Remember that the greatest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong”
ment, opposition and judiciary; retaining the existing provisions relating to appointment of other senior officers; overall superintendence by CVC; power of Lokpal to guide CBI and hold it to account on matters relating to the cases referred by it; and the overarching powers of Lokpal to deal with allegations of corruption in CBI. Perhaps one simple way of addressing the concerns of Parliament as well as civil society would be to make all members of CVC ex-officio members of Lokpal. CVC would remain as a separate entity with its mandate under CVC Act. But the chairman and members of CVC would be ex-officio members of Lokpal, and they would be appointed and removed in the same manner as Lokpal. CVC and Lokpal can thus be seamlessly integrated. However, the specialized functions of CVC including superintendence of CBI, advice to government on vigilance and corruption matters, and control of vigilance machinery in all government agencies will vest in CVC. CVC members’ eligibility criteria will remain as they are now, and the practice of a civil servant, a police official, and a banker or financial expert being appointed to CVC
will continue, as such a background is necessary to understand the context in which officials operate and decisions are made. That leaves us with the issue of states’ rights. Article 253 of the Constitution clearly gives Parliament the power to legislate in respect of state subjects for implementing international treaties and conventions. After ratification of UNCAC on May 1, 2011, Parliament has the obligation to make the law applicable to states. The Bill provides for the same provisions for states as for the union. There is no discrimination. The Bill does not seek to transfer powers to the union government. Appointment of Lok Ayukta and all other related matter are dealt within states. All procedural matters in relation to investigation and prosecution of anticorruption cases are in any case under Parliament’s concurrent jurisdiction under items one and two of List III. All incidental service matters will now come under Parliament’s concurrent jurisdiction under Article 253. Several laws have been made earlier in pursuance of international conventions – the laws on money laundering and human rights commission are prime examples.
Laws like Right to Information Act and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act have been enacted applicable to states. Precedents invoking Parliament’s jurisdiction clearly exist. All our procedural and criminal laws – CrPC, CPC, Evidence Act, IPC etc have been made by Parliament, and are applicable to states. None of them is seen as an encroachment of states’ rights. In any case, in deference to the wishes of certain parties and in recognition of the need for compromise to obtain parliamentary majority, The Bill has been amended in Lok Sabha providing for application of the law to states only with their prior consent. Given these circumstances, the argument that states’ rights are violated by making a law that would apply to only those states that consent to it is unsustainable. Now, we have an impasse. What can be done to salvage the situation? The following two steps would be helpful. First, government should be willing to strengthen the law in six respects – Suo motu powers to Lokpal / Lok Ayukta; creation of Lokpal’s own investigative agency; making CVC members ex-officio members of Lokpal; repeal of Sec 6A of Delhi
Special Police Establishment Act, and repeal or amendments of Sec 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 197 of Cr PC; same provisions to apply to state ACBs as are contemplated, or already exist, in respect of CBI; and power to Lok Ayuktas to appoint required number of Local Ombudsmen or Lokadhikaris to deal with corruption in local authorities and at lower levels in each district, but under Lok Ayukta’s control. These six provisions will create genuinely autonomous, effective, anti-corruption agencies and strengthen the Ombudsmen. These measures would be in consonance with the present features of the Bill and would not in any way weaken the architecture of the respective institutions. Second, the Lok Ayukta provisions should remain in the statute; but the language of amended Section 1 could be made even more explicit to unambiguously declare that the Lok Ayukta and ACB provisions apply to states only after their prior legislative assent by form of a resolution. This is a retrogressive step, but necessary to get the regional parties on board to ensure that the Bill is not sacrificed on the altar of states’ rights. Then the political parties – the national parties in particular will have the obligation to demonstrate their commitment in action, either by making the law applicable to states governed by them, or enacting even stronger laws in those states. In this framework, obviously the states should be free to enact stronger laws, and there should be flexibility in adoption of the Parliament’s legislation. For instance, the state legislature could add new provisions, or amend existing provisions of central law. Or, the state could enact a new law altogether. Section 1 could explicitly provide for all such contingencies.
These improvements and compromises in the Lokpal legislation should be accompanied by other measures. The pending laws on service delivery and grievance redressal (citizen’s charters), whistle-blowers’ protection, and judicial standards and accountability should be enacted along with the Lokpal law. We should ensure that in 2012 at least three more new legislations are in place. The National Judicial Commission for appointment and removal of judges of higher Courts should be brought in through amendment of the relevant Constitutional
the pending laws on service delivery and grievance redressal (citizen’s charters), whistle-blowers’ protection, and judicial standards and accountability should be enacted along with the Lokpal law. provisions, so that the distortions in higher judiciary are corrected. A new all-India Judicial Service should be created for recruiting sub-ordinate judiciary, and to serve as recruiting base for selection of judges of High Courts. And a strong and effective law for confiscation of properties of corrupt public servants similar to the SAFEMA Act, 1976 should be enacted on the lines of Law Commission’s draft Bill, and Supreme Court’s observations (AIR 1996 SC 2005). These legislative measures, together with Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act will create a robust, strong, independent, deterrent and effective anti-corruption regime. If, for some reason, resolution of the issues on Lokpal and Lok Ayukta takes time, one way out
would be for Congress and BJP to bury the hatchet and approve the Constitutional amendment in the first instance. Some eminent jurists believe it may be worthwhile enacting the Constitutional amendment with bipartisan support outlining the general principles of independence and effectiveness, and making it mandatory for Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas to be established. The finalizing of details and hammering out an acceptable compromise need not hold up a mandatory institutional framework being incorporated in the Constitution. This will also address the issue of “rights of states” once and for all. The failed Constitutional amendment bill provides for the appropriate legislature making the laws governing the details of Lokpal / Lok Ayukta. This will address both the need for Constitutional mandate and the federal principle. In reality, there is no realistic reason why an acceptable legislation cannot be enacted soon, provided there is good will, mutual trust, and genuine resolve to confront corruption. It is never too late to act. We should apply these lessons, and act wisely and in concert to ensure creation of effective, independent, anticorruption regimes and institutions all across the country. The bitterness, mistrust and acrimony must give way to greater harmony, resolve, and mutual respect. The nation’s selfimage and self-esteem, people’s confidence in governance process, and India’s global reputation and investor confidence in the nation are all at stake. It is time to act decisively and swiftly. (Nagabhairava Jayaprakash Narayan known as JP is and former IAS officer now is an politician, political reformer. He is founder President of Loksatta)
Cabinet approves amendements to Lokpal Bill
he Union Cabinet has cleared the amendments to the Lokpal Bill, which will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the upcoming budget session. The government has accepted 14 of the amendments mooted by the Rajya Sabha select committee, set up in 2012 to iron out the differences between the Government and the Opposition. The amendments include doing away with the requirement of prior sanction under Section 6A of the Delhi (Special Police) Establishment Act for launching a preliminary enquiry and prosecution against any government official of the rank of joint secretary and above in case a prima facie case exists. The official, however, would be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The government feels that such a protection is required and depriving the officials facing allegations the opportunity to present their views was against the "principle of protection". The Government has proposed putting in place a new section which will provide for setting up of Lokayuktas in the states.
This will be done by enacting a law within one year from the date the Lokpal legislation becomes effective. Another important modification proposed relates to the political affiliation of the Lokpal members. As against the earlier clause that says Lokpal members should not be connected with any party, the amendment says the members should not be affiliated with political party. Lokpal’s selection would be done by a five-member committee, which includes PM, Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the Opposition and the Supreme Court chief justice. The fifth member, who will be an eminent jurist, would be selected by the other four members of the committee. This is in deference to the wish of the Opposition,
Lokpal’s selection would be done by a five-member committee, which includes pM, Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition and the Supreme Court chief justice.
which has been demanding that such consultation is necessary to ensure that the panel is not government-dominated. Among the other important recommendations of the select committee the government has accepted are setting up of a separate directorate of prosecution for the CBI under the overall control of the CBI director, the appointment of the director of prosecution to be made on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission, and having a panel of lawyers appointed with the consent of the Lokpal to handle Lokpal-referred cases. However, the recommendation that the approval of Lokpal was necessary to transfer CBI officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal was not accepted. The Government has not accepted the recommendation of the select committee which called for Lokpal’s prior approval to transfer a CBI officer, who is investigating a case. The Government felt that transferring any official was the exclusive right of the government and the CBI chief as it was an administrative matter.
Facts & Fiction Corruption in Pvt. Sector
The politician-bureaucrat nexus has become so strong that it has made all institutions of governance utterly ineffective. In most developed countries, bribe is paid to get some illegal work done. But in India, people are compelled to pay bribe to enjoy services that should otherwise have been provided for free. Arguing that corruption is essentially a top-down problem, former director of the CBI JOGINDEr SINGH does some straight talk on how to tackle corruption.
n a bid to curb corruption and bribery in the Private Sector, the Government is working on a tough law against corruption. According to the draft circulated to the States, the amendments will criminalise a person offering or giving (or soliciting or receiving) an "undue advantage in breach of his duties.” It will make receiving a gift a crime, if a court feels it was in return for undue favours. Offenders will be punished with a maximum seven years in jail. At present, the Prevention of Corruption Act covers only the public servant, though the givers are as guilty of the crime as the receivers of the favour. The Government of India, intentionally or unintentionally, seems to be blissfully ignorant. Nobody willingly pays bribe, speed money or kickback. It is literally extracted out
of the pocket of the bribe-giver, who more often than not has no alternative but to fall in line. Every Government has talked of eliminating Inspector Raj, but every single law passed by the State and the Central Governments add more inspectors and inter alia bribe collection points. It is certainly not the case that the villain of the piece in corruption is the private sector. Nothing moves in any Government department unless is wheeled on the trolley of currency notes. Gone are the days when bribes worth laksh of rupees could swing the decision in the favour of the petitioners. These are the days of crores. Isn’t it common knowledge that the sleuths of the Vigilance, Lok Ayukta and the CBI have recovered assets and cash worth crores or ru-
pees from even peons and clerks? In her last year in office, a UP CM dismisses 17 of her ministerial colleagues for alleged corrupt practices. Isn’t this an eloquent testimony to the extent of corruption prevailing in India even if one were to discount Transparency International’s contention that with a score of 32 out of 100 on integrity score, we are the 87th most corrupt country in the world? The politician-bureaucrat nexus is so strong that it has made all institutions of governance ineffective. In most developed countries, bribe is paid to get some illegal work done. But in India, people are compelled to pay bribe to enjoy services, which should otherwise have been provided for free. In most cases, corruption is a top-down problem, as can be seen from the number of MPs and ministers doing their stint in prison whether it was in 2 G scam, or Adarsh Housing scam or Commonwealth Games scams or any other such scam. The tendency of valuing and measuring the dignity and status of a person through his wealth regardless of whether it was amassed through the meanest and the most dishonest ways has encouraged such elements to view corrupt practices as in-things. There used to be a time
“Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!” -Bal Gangadhar Tilak when being tainted meant being ostracized from the society. Now, ministers accused of massive crimes get welcomed with garlands and to beat of drums on their coming out of the prison. If the top people are corrupt, the subordinates would also make hay when the sun shines. It is both frustrating and insulting to an ordinary Indian to deal with such irresponsible and corrupt elements. But to a great extent, the fault lays with us, the common men. We are responsible for putting them in places of power knowing very well as to their antecedents and then suffer in silence as a nation. According to a Government survey, basic needs like tapped drinking water, electricity connection and sanitation are not available to 82% of rural Indian households. The CAG report tabled in the Maharashtra State assembly in 2012 has said that ministers Chhaggan Bhujbal, Patanrao Kadam and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil besides Deshmukh and Rane, too received government land at throwaway prices. Private sector is no paragon of virtue either and I hold no brief for it. But, it is more important for the Government to put its own house in order. In May 2012, the Delhi AntiCorruption Branch (ACB) has arrested three top doctors and a pharmacist from Lok Nayak Hospital and Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in connection with the purchase scam
that has caused a loss of over Rs 1 crore to the exchequer. Those arrested on include the medical superintendent of the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. While seeking custody of Hyderabad-based businessman Nimmagadda Prasad, the CBI in its report to the special CBI court, Hyderabad has said in May, 2102 that "The government allotted more than 15,000 acres of land to companies promoted by Prasad violating all norms and granted several concessions under the Stamp and Registration Act. As a quid pro quo arrangement, Prasad invested in Carmel Asia Holdings, Bharathi Cements, Jagathi Publications, Silicon Builders, and Sandur Power Company. Prasad invested Rs 854.50 crore in the companies belonging to Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy." Let us also not forget another bright star of corruption, Madhu Koda, the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand. In October, 2009, he was charged with laundering money. The Income Tax Department uncovered over Rs 4000 crore in illegal assets owned by Koda. Among others, these assets were reported to include hotels and three companies in Mumbai, a property in Kolkata, a hotel in Thailand, and a coal mine in Liberia. The Government is solely responsible for the corruption and shame it had wrought on the country. Our laws are one of the weakest while dealing with the corrupt. People amass billions and the Govern-
ment is quibbling as to who should seize their ill-gotten gains. Neither the scriptures nor our traditions lay down that in the interest of saving the Government, the Government should compromise on the basic values. Layers after layers of appeals and vast number of advisory bodies consulted ensure that delay is built in defending and protecting the corrupt. Against the universal norm of 50 Judges per million population, we have less than 10 and hence the delay is endemic as the Government does not spend on strengthening the criminal justice. The result? A pendency of over 3.32 Crores cases in the country. How can the Government ensure justice for the poorest of the poor, when the money and good grain meant for them is siphoned off and sold in the black market. Indira Gandhi had once said that “The people tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.” It is more than applicable to the Government, which is following the approach of “willing to strike, but afraid to wound,” while dealing with the corruption. Once its own house is in order, it will find that no body from private sector, will bribe anybody in the Government. It is time to look within and remove the causes that force the public to bribe the powers be. My suggestion is “Physician, Heal Thyself ”. (The author is IPS (retd) & Former Director of CBI
ACB head quarter, Hyderabad
P C Act-1988
Strength and Weakness The criminal procedure system in India is such that people take little or no interest in reporting cases of corruption as also in extending their cooperation during investigation of corruption cases involving public servants. It is important to ensure that people are sensitized and encouraged to report such matters to the Anti corruption agencies, says top police official PrASADA rAO
he existing laws relating to prosecution of corrupt public servants and the provisions of the Prevent of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Indian Penal Code have been found to be inadequate on account of various systemic difficulties and abnormal delay in investigation, prosecution and disposal of criminal cases and confiscation of properties of public servant in these cases. The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 has enlarged the definition of public servant and enumerated the various classes of public servants
who fall within the ambit of definition of public servant. The Special Courts under the Prevention of Corruption Act can try all the offences pertaining to the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as the offences pertaining to criminal conspiracy and abetment. The Special Judges are empowered to tender pardon to the accused. There is a specific provision U/s.20 of PC Act, 1988 that a positive legal presumption has to be drawn by the Special Courts when the accused public servant fails to give satisfac-
B prASAdA rAo, ipS
tory explanation for the amount found in his possession that the said amount happens to be the illegal gratification received by him for discharging official favour. In order to convict a public servant, the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. There is no exception to this requirement even in respect of corruption cases. The case of the prosecution depends heavily on the testimony of witnesses to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. In most of the cases, the witnesses do not support the case
of the prosecution because of allurement and intimidation from the other side. There is no specific provision in the Prevent of Corruption Act, 1988 for the witness protection and also there is no effective and appropriate action against those witnesses who turn hostile mostly in trap cases. Sanction for prosecution is another factor, which is coming in the way in the implementation of the provision U/s.19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The object and intention of the legislation in incorporating the said provision is not being effectively implemented by the authorities concerned under the garb of protecting and shielding the public servants. The necessary conditions which must be satisfied before the offence of criminal misconduct i.e., the possession of assets disproportion to the known sources of income by a public servant can be said to have been committed by a person U/s.l3(l)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 are that: 1. The accused must be a public servant. 2. He or some other person on his behalf must be found in possession of pecuniary resources or property, which is disproportionate to his known sources of income. 3. The accused is not able to satis-
factorily account for possessing such disproportionate assets. Most of the corrupt public servants invest their ill-gotten money in the names of their kith and kin and also outside the state of Andhra Pradesh and conceal the same. The Income Tax returns of such family members or friends with boosted figures are filed. In respect of the investigation of the cases pertaining to the assets disproportionate to the known sources of income of a public servant, collection of evidence especially the agricultural income, income from gifts and advances from NRPs, verifying genuineness of the foreign remittance, benami transactions, joint family properties, the real price paid in respect of the immovable properties etc. is a major challenge, except for the provisions in the Criminal Law Amended Ordinance, 1944, for the attachment of the convicted public servants. An amendment is necessary in this regard in the line of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. A uniform procedure can be established throughout the country as Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is a Central legislation. Corrupt public servants often acquire properties with ill-gotten money in the names of their relatives and friends and other places outside the state of Andhra Pradesh. Thereby it is becoming difficult to investigate and
prove the same. Corrupt public servants are adopting different methods for demanding and accepting the bribe to escape from the clutches of the CBI and the ACB. To overcome this, advanced and latest technical gadgets are necessary. After the liberalization of the Indian Economy the problem of corruption in the private sector also has increased. The fight against the corruption would be inadequate if the awareness to report corrupt activities of public servants is not inculcated amongst the law abiding citizens and public servants. In India, it is noticed that it is difficult to encourage the people and public servants to report the criminal activities of corruption to the Police or Magistrates. The criminal procedure system in India is such that people hardly take any interest in reporting the corruption cases to the Police and in extending their cooperation during investigation of such corruption cases against public servants. The major problem in India is as to how such people should be educated and encouraged to report such matters to the Police. It has to be ensured that neither their time is wasted by the Police during investigation nor they are otherwise harassed. (Author is a senior IPS officer and Director General of ACB, AP)
History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless thee was sufficient force to compel them? - B.R. Ambedkar 29
YouR ‘NO’ To coRRuPTIon counTS!
People often think that they are at the mercy of corruption and that it is just a “way of life”. However, every society, sector and citizen would benefit from saying “NO” to this crime. Here are some examples of how you can say “NO” to corruption:
Corruption in media
Seconds & Square cm’s for sale Being part and parcel of the dynamic society, media organizations are not exempt from being corrupt. Media now is communication industry and remains no more a profession. The duty of informing has been replaced by selling saleable information to information-starved people, says legal Luminary Prof. MADABHuSHI SrIDAr prof. MAdABhuShi SridhAr
he Editors of Zee were caught on camera demanding Rs. 100 crore from Steel tycoon MP Navin Jindal. Such extortion demand by the editors was alleged to be on behalf of the owners or with their authorization. Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary filed criminal defamation complaint against Congress MP Naveen Jindal and 16 officials of his firm, the Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL). Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia were arrested on November 27, 2012 on a complaint by Jindal’s firm that they had demanded Rs 100 crore as an advertising deal for not airing “negative” news re-
ports against the firm in connection with the coal block allocation scandal. Mr. SandeepBhushan, writes in the Hindu on 21st January 2013 that it indicates the present status of broadcast journalistic standards. Being part and parcel of the dynamic society, media organizations are not exempt from being corrupt. Media is a communication industry and is no more a profession. The duty of informing has been replaced by peddling saleable information to information-starved people. While information became a commodity, informing is considered the service for a price. The cost of information is not cost of newspaper or cable fee
paid every month. The valuation of information, including news and views, is based on demand and supply mechanism. Media takes money without tariff cards with fixed rates. Most of the transactions, as a routine, are not accounted for. Once the individual journalists were complained of accepting gift cheques or tasting different brands of alcohol or campaigning in a clandestine manner for payment where giver and taker does not account for it anywhere. The times are a changing. The media organizations have institutionalized the unaccounted money-making process without accounting for it. It is both black
Sting operation rebutted, Zee Tv journalists arrested
money and black mailing money transaction. There are two ways of wrongful income – one, taking money for writing favourable stories, two, collecting huge amount for suppressing inconvenient reports.
misleAding business With the advent of TV channels in multiple numbers, the illegal and unaccounted money transactions increased and they channelized illegal gratification. An astrologer pays big price for a 25 minute slot to a TV channel, only to encash in the astrological predictions and suggestions to wear particular precious stones to remedy the worst situations. There is a competition and ‘open’ secret bidding process which benefit the tv channel. They sell seconds for lakhs of rupees while print media put the column centimeters in street auction. Anyone who can decide in media is ready to sell to anyone who can pay, that is media today. One Baba who used to suggest remedies for the dayto-day problems online and telecasts the entire program, live or recorded, by paying unimaginably huge amounts of cash to around 37 TV channels, till a TV channel’s investigative reporter exposed the unscientific way of his suggestions and the clique behind it. The self-styled Baba suggests eating ‘gupchup’ for better prospects, or going to a particular temple nearby for health, or consuming liquor of different brand for fulfilling desire etc. This is a bit of corruption unknown to the channel viewers. None questions the logic or science or sense behind it, but book seats in the auditorium where Baba gives open advice to the client seeking the resolution of his mundane problems, which is telecast as it is. The media joins the exploitation of the foolish beliefs of the people.
PAid news Problems It is difficult to give the examples of media’s corruption because of its myriad forms and styles. The paid news, (we need to add paid views also), is the biggest phenomenon today which institutionalized collection of unaccounted price for promoting and positive stories with different rates and packages. There will be no official tariff cards as used by advertisement executives. It is almost impossible to control this payment, because it is a victimless crime
where both giver and taker are happy beneficiaries. There is no possibility of complaint. Even if someone complains, such a transaction will not fall within the frame of any definition of the ‘corruption’ as a crime. Let us understand whether media’s moneymaking-process is legally a crime.
AbsenCe of lAw The Prevention of Corruption Act defines corruption as illegal gratification by public servants only, and does not talk about bribery in private companies. Though the second Administrative Reforms Commission recommended any indulgence in unaccounted money-making or paying to be punished as an offence, there is no legislation so far. Unethical transactions and clandestine money-making practices look like corruption but nowhere are
they penalized by any regulation. Generally, we confuse ourselves with the concept of corruption by mixing both the crimes and unethical practices into one category and denounce those practices as ‘criminal’. They are neither illegal nor criminal, though not valid or justified.
The objeCTiviTy Free press was primarily considered as virtue of democracy and the right to express was exercised with utmost objectivity during the Indian Independence movement and after. Once journalism was considered a noble ‘profession’ distinguished from business and industry. Now, journalism remained neither noble nor a profession. It is more than a business and slightly less than an industry. Profit maximization and high circulation-figures are the targets for newspapers and the number of eyeballs matter for TV channel. ABC decides the financial fate of print media while TRP decides that of electronic media. Similarly hits decide the popularity of a web journal. Objectivity or bias has its roots in the ownership pattern. When a newspaper is independent, it tends to be objective and maintains equidistance from all political parties and thoughts. In the previous generation there were two controversies centering around ownership of newspapers. One- it should not have politically committed thoughts, second- it should not be associated with any business or industry. In UK, delinking of the newspapers from industry was in demand for a long time to secure ethical status of journalist. If an industrialist runs a newspaper, his business interests will dominate the content of the news and views which will affect the natural objectivity of the press. None
heard the demand and, nowhere had it happened. In India, the First Press Commission made an elaborate analysis as to why the industry should not be allowed to start a newspaper and strongly pleaded for delinking. A similar suggestion emerged after the advent of a strong private TV media. The Broadcast Regulation Bill, 2007 had a provision saying a newspaper cannot have more than 20 per cent shares in electronic media and vice versa. It is stated that because of this provision the bill never became legislation and will never become one. The industry lobby is so strong that cross-media ownership restrictions were shot down along with the bill that contained it.
When ‘my industry, my caste, my company, my political party or my group in political party, or exclusively my political interests’ are primary, the media cannot be objective, impartial and their views can’t be devoid of orientation. The truth is drowned in the din of self-interests. The news they report gets oriented to suit the proprietor and his political interests. The reader or viewer today cannot vouch for the veracity of the news which is camouflaged by these orientations, bias and self-interest. The individual journalists who were very close to present and former chief minister and belong to a particular caste, became very rich not because of their dedication to journalism but because of their sub-
who owns mediA? This is an important question. The ownership of the media is now in the hands of big industrialists and rich politicians. Strangely the political parties do not prefer to own media but leaders want to have a dedicated media to fol2G tapes trapped low him with camera all through the day. servience to such politician. IndividThe caste and political aspira- ual journalists collect mamools (like tions of that caste forms the founda- hafta vasool) from the excise, agricultion of the media organization ture, forests and even police departnow-a-days. To counter that newspa- ments in some places. They were per, the competitive caste with polit- even seen threatening the farmers for ical support or for political support selling seeds claiming that they cancould launch a media house. With not sell branded seeds in violation of media in hand they command the Intellectual property rights. Unforpolitical executive. Eeandu sup- tunately the police, and agriculture ported Telugu Desam when NT departments threaten the farmers Rama Rao established it with a mis- from selling the seeds, while newspasionary zeal to end Congress rule in per reporters also claim ‘bribes’ from Andhra Pradesh. Though they claim farmers with a threat that, if not that they are unbiased, the readers paid, they would report to police and understand what it is. Saakshi came agriculture departments who would into existence with similar objectives again collect bribes. Fact is that the and purposes as that of the Eenadu, farmers do have a right to sell seeds though for a different social group. they grow, when they are not in a
branded form. This right is protected by Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers Rights Act, which innocent farmers do not know, and journalists do not care to know. Rupert Murdoch’s media scandals in UK led to closure of historic “the News of the World”. The criminals are glorified. Victims’ privacy was intruded, police were bribed and knowingly untruthful news stories were planted to sensationalize and kill sensitivities. Everything was for making money. Criminal cases were registered, editors sacked, and journalists were arrested. Niira Radia’s tapes has exposed several important and high profile personalities almost from every walk of life, but traditional media did not discuss it until the magazine media and web media published detailed transcripts of the phone conversations revealing conspiratorial lobbying by big industrialists, corrupt politicians and celebrity editors who sold their pens, views and finally the souls if they had. After being bombarded by the social media network and magazine media, it was inevitable for the traditional media to discuss it in their own space. Media came under attack by media, a good phenomenon indeed. The loss of credibility is equivalent to death. Law cannot give death penalty to corrupt media. But readers, viewers and blog journalists or content developing users can bring down the empires of corrupt media and put them to critical appraisal. That is the contribution of Information Technology to the freedom of expression. (Author is Prof. and Head, Center for Media Law and Public Policy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.)
Paltry bribes plunder nation’s wealth Tainted money involved in small bribes runs into several thousand crores of rupees and adversely impacts the country. Former IGP A VENKATA rAO forcefully argues that the Section 19(1) P.C. Act, which makes it mandatory to obtain the sanction to prosecute a public servant, is the biggest bottleneck in the fight against corruption and calls for its immediate amendment.
orruption manifests in myriad forms. Bribery, nepotism, favoritism, collusive collegiality, (colleagues supporting each other), misconduct, criminal misconduct, dishonest quid pro quo and misuse or abuses of public office/ public power for private profit are the commonly occurring forms of corruption. This phenomenon of well entrenched corruption is prevalent in various institutions and instrumentalities of the State viz., Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Governments - State and Central, all local bodies, cooperatives, public sector corporations, banks, universities and hospitals etc have attained the notoriety of being corrupt – small or big to the extent where it is perceived as institutionalized. Small bribes in these areas of Governmental, quasi Governmental, public sector and State’s administration have become the accepted norm in all the wings of the State. Almost no work gets done without greasing the palms of public servants right up to the middle levels. These small bribes are sometimes referred to as ‘speed money’ and ‘seed money’ (where the favour received is enormous). Small bribes in today’s parlance could range from a hundred to
a few thousands. Grass Eaters i.e. those who obtain or receive small bribes and have come to perfect this art of earning ‘extra’ or additional income, constitute a very substantial percentage of public servants working in Government departments, local bodies like panchayats, Municipalities, cooperatives, educational. medical and health institutions and banks etc. What is most important in relation to this very large public servant numbers is that they work at the cutting edge or field level with whom the people at large interact for getting their work done. It is these functionaries who have to provide the guidance and elicit right and timely response to the common people by extending the service due in an honest manner. If done, this will be in keeping with the spirit of good administrative culture and will be con-
A VenKAtA rAo ducive to fulfilling the rights and eligibilities that the people are entitled to. But this is hardly done and what more, the people are harassed and victimized by the field-level functionaries who resort to one or the other corrupt methods viz., exploitative, extortionist, coercive, dilatory, acquisitive etc., to obtain bribes for discharging their legitimate functions. They also tempt and abet the people to misuse certain benefits like subsidies and benefits in cash or kind provided by the Government and indulge in collusive corruption by sharing the illegal gains. A sizeable section of lower level functionaries share such bribes with their supervisory officers, particularly in departments, which deal with huge revenues (collection/ spending ) of the Government. In such departments, bribery and corruption take an institutionalized form and in turn provides fertile ground for the political and the executive to acquire illegal wealth for giving postings, transfers, promotions to public servants and for unleashing their vast discretionary powers. It is therefore common knowledge that ‘small bribes’ phenomenon has become ubiquitous and un-
abated. Since a very large number of functionaries are indulging in this form of corruption, the tainted and black money involved runs into several thousand crores and adversely affects the progress and the development of the nation. Further, due to this, intended welfare and ameliorative measures are not reaching a large percentage of targeted sections of the people. There is erosion in the quality of growth-oriented construction works, diversion of essential commodities from the public distribution system and destruction of the image and credibility of the State institutions. Another detrimental feature is the fragmentation of loyalty of public servants and their patronage by unscrupulous outsiders and politicians. In such a state of permissive and corrupt administrative culture, the discipline and the morale of the public servants is anything but good. Their objectivity, impartiality and political neutrality leave much to be desired. The in-built checks and balances to set right and mitigate bribery and corruption in services are not being invoked and if invoked, not as effectively. The Civil Services (All India Services too) Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, Conduct Rules etc. made in terms of Article 309 of the Constitution of India constitute the first line of anti-corruption measures. All supervisory functionaries are not only required to maintain integrity but also vested with the responsibility of ensuring that subordinates under them maintain integrity. This mandatory rule is not being implemented. Several other rules are also not being invoked. These house-keeping vigilance functions are the responsibility of supervisory officers. It is said that corruption is the end product of a process of administration preceded
by maladministration. Senior supervisory functionaries have to exercise pro-active and preventive vigilance checks to deal with errant subordinates. Initiation of timely and appropriate disciplinary inquiries against corrupt functionaries, award of deterrent penalties will surely check and mitigate rampant â€˜small briberyâ€™ and corruption. This will in turn ensure qualitative growth and optimum development of the nation. The heads, who are primarily responsible to ensure corruption-free and clean administration in their respective departments, should bring about this improvement. The Vigilance and Enforcement department and the Vigilance Commission have to ensure that the departmental first line of anti-corruption measures - Conduct Rules, CC&A (Disciplinary) Rules, Fundamental and Pension Rules (Premature retirement of those known to be corrupt/outlived their utility) - are strictly enforced. In respect of Meat Eaters, i.e. those who graduate from among the grass eaters and the whales and sharks indulging in large-scale corruption at various levels, particularly at senior levels, some urgently needed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (P.C. Act) are warranted. Under Section 19(1) P.C. Act, the previous sanction of the Appointing Authority of the accused public servant is necessary to enable the special Court to take cognizance
of an offence of corruption committed by him. This provision is a big bottleneck and results in delays. This provision has to be deleted to speed up the proceedings. Sections 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 of the same Act state that offences of corruption are committed for the personal gain of the accused public servants. In most of such cases, if not all, this is established by irrefutable documentary evidence. Moreover, investigating officers and judicial officers of higher caliber investigate and hold trials respectively in these cases. So there are enough reasons to delete this section and do away with need for the sanction to prosecute. Amendments are also necessary to make provision for speedier attachment of disproportionate assets pending trial of the cases. The State as well as the Central Governments are taking good care of the welfare needs of their employees (public servants). Therefore, the cooperation of Staff Associations and Employeeâ€™s Unions could be enlisted to fight the canker of corruption; particularly the abhorrent phenomenon of small bribes and accelerates the growth and development of the country. This will also help mitigate political corruption as Staff Associations can be more vocal and assertive in exposing such corruption. (The author is IPS (retd), former IGP and Director (Investigation), AP, Lokayukta)
‘Dharma’ deters corruption At a time when the entire nation is up in arms against corruption, it is important to go back to the scriptures to ensure that the struggle is not merely a passing phase, but is a permanent phenomenon. For this one has to take shelter of the Lord. More importantly, every religion under the sky abhors corruption, says Suryaputra
oney-making has never been considered bad in Hindu philosophy. In fact, money-making is one of the four cardinal purusharthas or humanly pursuits that everyone is expected to undertake. Artha or attainment of prosperity is verily the second purushartha, the others being dharma, kama and moksha. Money has always been considered Laxmi by the Hindus. In fact, every word that denotes money is indicative of divine attributes. For instance, prosperity is Vibhava, where Bhava denotes the God. Similarly, Aiswarya, another word used to denote prosperity and bountifulness comes from Iswara, the God almighty. The prayer on the lip of every devout Sanatani is “Anaayaasena Maranam Vinaa dainyena Jeevanam” which seeks a death that is peaceful and painless and a life of self-containment and self-sufficiency, which
can come only from prosperity. Indeed, our sages and seers of yore have never subscribed to a life of penury and destitution. What they enjoined was a life full of knowledge, courage and prosperity ie., a life with food, financial and social security. This Sanskrit Shloka sums up Hindu thought thus: Yajjeevyate punarapi prathitam manushyaihi Vignana sourya vibhavaadi gunaissametam Tannaama jeevita pravadanti Santaha Kakopi jeevati chiraaya varincha bhunte (A life with knowledge, courage and prosperity is a life well-lived. Living a long life without these attributes is like the life of a useless crow.)
eArn money righTfully Our sages and seers have un-
ambiguously elucidated on why we need money and how we should spend it. They enjoined that money is needed to do five things – perpetuation of dharma, earning of popularity, generating more money, fulfilling of desires and wants and finally for helping our kin. This is explained in the following Shloka. Dharmena yashase arthaaya kaamaaya swajanayacha Panchadhaa vibhajan vittam iha mutraacha modase (Divide your earnings into five parts to spend for protecting and perpetuating dharma, to attain name and fame, to generate more money for future needs, to fulfill desires and to come to the succor of the near and dear. By this way, one shall remain happy in this world.) Yet, our scriptures have clearly ordained that the money needs to be earned only through rightful
To be good and to do good that is the whole of religion -Swami Vivekananda Vol.6, Pg 245
means. Realizing artha and fulfilling of kaama has to be in conformity with dharma and moksha. Thus dharma is the biggest deterrent to corruption. It is the forsaking of the principles of dharmik life that is pushing India off the precipice for a suicidal descent into the abyss of corruption and nepotism. Our Shastras have repeatedly said that material prosperity sans dharmik inclinations is useless and that corruption turns an ideal and open society into a closed and evil society. Dharma tells us what our social and religious duties are and is thus a code of conduct to be followed in routine actions. This shapes our value systems. Shastras enjoin that bribe blinds the wise and twists the words of righteous… such persons are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Bribery is against the laws of as all wealth belongs to Him and bribe takers are thieves of the God. In fact, dharma treats para dravya or money that is not mine as loshtha or just a mere piece of useless rock. Vedas have extensively dealt with the issue of hydraheaded corruption. Shlokas 1-191-81, 1-28-4 and 2-14-3 in Rig Veda calls corruption a nineheaded demon that enters our body through 99 sources, depicted in the Mahabharata as the 99 sons Kauravas. Rig Veda.1-42-3 mentions bribe takers are thieves of God and those learned persons who justify corruption are also corrupt. Sama Veda terms corruption as a disease (Sama Veda 913 and 179). Upanishads in fact say that Yavad briyeta jatharam taavat swatvam hi dehinaa Adhikam yobhimanyet sastena dandamarhati Meaning, one should keep only that much which is necessary
Garuda Purana prescribes painful punishment for the corrupt
for one’s sustenance. He who hordes more than what he really needs is a thief and is fit to be punished. Bhagavadgita too underscores the need to end corruption. In shloka 2.58, the Lord says like a tortoise, the spiritualist shuns corruption by avoiding activities that could be detrimental for his spiritual advancement. In shloka 2.59, the Lord says that a person can very happily give his lower, degrading propensities by acquiring a higher taste in spiritual life. CorruPTion deCried In fact, all religions abhor corruption. The Bible has over 80 references to corruption. It says it is the deceitful lust that causes corruption (2 Peter 1-4, Ephesians 422 and Peter 1-18). The Bible has a large number of commandments, injunctions and spiritual and moral advices against various kinds of corruption and evils. The Quran makes it clear that Islam does not encourage corruption in any form. The Quran admonishes the corrupt thus: “The lust for plenty kept you in the dark till you reach your grave. ” (Al Takasur: 1-2) And the Almighty warns such men of painful torment: “Those who piled up wealth and counted thought that their wealth was forever. Ver-
ily, he will be thrown into that which tramples (hell-fire).” (Al Humazah: 2-4). The Quransays that greed is against the will of God (Sura 64:15-16). Thus, dharma deters corruption. At a time when the entire nation is up in arms against corruption, it is important to go back to the scriptures to ensure that the struggle is not merely a passing phase, but is a permanent phenomenon. For this one has to take shelter of the Lord. Let us end by ruminating over what Mahatma Gandhi said way back in 1948: “Corruption will go when the large number of persons given unworthily to it realise that the nation does not exist for them to exploit but that they exist to serve the nation. This requires morals, and extreme vigilance on the part of those who are free of the taint. Indifference will be criminal…” (The Hindu, 27.1.2948). The Mahatma had also said: “…It is the duty of all leading men, whatever their persuasion or party, to safeguard the dignity of India. That dignity can’t be saved if misgovernment and corruption flourish. Misgovernment and corruption always go together. (The Hindu. 16/12/1947).
A threat to Nation’s Security One needs to understand that the terrorists are using ever more sophisticated financial instruments like real estate, securities and stock markets to raise and move funds in and out of the country. Though the banks are implementing increased levels of remittance scrutiny and are complying with the anti money laundering regulation and standards, the terrorists are devising ever ingenious way to circumvent the system. Hence, there is a dire need for greater awareness of threat environment says Journalist K. SuDHAKAr
orruption and spiriting away of huge amounts of money into international financial safe havens are not mere criminal wrongdoings. They are a flagrant assault on our national security. Corruption is eating into the vitals of the nation and is sapping its very strength. This self-perpetuating and selfaccentuating cycle of corruption has turned internal security into India’s Achilles, Heel. Fighting corruption’s chokehold on the nation is important not just for the future of the country, but also for global security. Consider this. 1993 Mumbai blasts, which had left 250 dead and 750 grievously hurt, could not have happened if only the customs officials inspecting the offloaded goods that came via sea route cared to check the deadly consignment. But, they chose to let go the consignment as the agents of death had greased their palms. Their unbridled avarice for a few nickels had thus left a permanent scar in the collective psyche of the country The terror money of 1998 Coimbatore blasts had been deposited in four local branches of wellestablished banks. None of the bank managers had cared to quiz about the source of the money. Nor did they
look into the money trail. The rush for meeting deposit mobilization target had blinded them completely. The result is there for all to see. On July 11, 2006, terror attacks on Mumbai trains have left 200 dead. This deadly operation needed just 10000 US dollars. The money needed for conducting the grisly attack came from Saudi to India via hawala, a devious system that leaves no paper trail, escapes taxation, needs no customs declaration and promotes laundering. According to the Vienna Convention and the Palermo Convention on money laundering, the process of laundering encompasses three dis-
tinct and alternative areas: a) the conversion or transfer, knowing that such property is the proceeds of crime (b) the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership of or rights with respect to property, knowing that such property is the proceeds of crime; and (c) the acquisition, possession or use of property, knowing, at the time of the receipt, that such property is the proceeds of crime.
ThreAT To seCuriTy Corruption deeply imperils national security. In fact, it is a symbiosis out there. Illegal money needs
illegal ways of cash transfer. The Interpol had admitted that In South Asia, the black or parallel economy is 30 to 50 per cent of the white or documented economy. In his deposition before US Congress House Committee on International Relations on July 16, 2003, the then Interpol secretary general Ronald K Noble had admitted that Intellectual property crime is becoming a preferred method for funding terror groups. Osama bin Laden, the high priest of international terror, had once said: “Al Quaeda is comprised of modern, educated young people who are as aware of the cracks in the Western financial system as they are of the lines in their own hands. These are the very flaws in the Western financial system, which are becoming a noose for it.” One needs to understand that the terrorists are using ever more sophisticated and legitimate financial instruments like real estate, securities and stock markets to raise and move funds in and out of the country. Though the banks are implementing increased levels of remittance scrutiny and are complying with the anti-money laundering regulations and standards, the terrorists are devising ever ingenious ways to circumvent the systems. One has to admit that terrorists are cleverer and academically more brilliant than ever before.
nsA’s wArnings Tragically, India’s inward remittance system, the largest in the world with an annual inflow of 25 billion US dollars outpacing inward remittance leader like Mexico, is being increasingly exploited to fund terror
infrastructure and to mount terror attacks. Financial cost of attacks is relatively cheap, but cost of maintaining terror infrastructure is very high. Travel, training, safe houses, satellite phones, bribery, electronic equipment, automobile and weapons entail huge costs. All this needs huge amounts. In fact, former national security advisor MK Narayanan was spot on when he said: “Reducing the flow of funds and money supply to terrorist outfits is perhaps the most vital aspect in the fight against international terrorism.
While speaking to 43rd Munich conference on security in February 2007 M K Narayanan hinted at links of terrorist with the stock market when he said "Isolated instances to terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported." In December, 2011, Union Minister of State for Finance Namo Narayan Meena had admitted on the floor of Lok Sabha that there were at least 10 instances of terror money reaching the Indian stock markets in the preceding three years. Narayanan had clearly hinted at the terrorist groups
that have found an easy way to route their dirty money into Indian stock market by way of participatory notes, as FIIs are not bound to reveal the names of PN holders. This routing of terrorist money is further encouraged by lax regulatory framework in India. In fact, the IMF, in its report ‘India: Observance of Standards and Codes Financial Action Task Force Recommendations for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism’ released in January 2011 has said “As a leader among the emerging economies in Asia, with a strongly growing economy and demography, India faces a range of money laundering and terror financing risks. The main sources of money laundering in India result from a range of illegal activities within and outside the country, mainly drug trafficking, fraud, counterfeiting of Indian currency, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, and corruption. India continues to be a significant target for terrorist groups and has been the victim of numerous attacks. There are no published figures of terrorist cells operating in the country.”
CounTerfeiT CurrenCy Counterfeit currency is another potential source of economic terror and the spate of seizures across the country over the years reveal the extent of counterfeit currency. Pakistan is always known to procure more than normal quantity of paper needed for its currency notes. This is used to make fake Indian and counterfeit notes (FICN) to disrupt Indian economy. According to reports, FICN with a cumulative face value of Rs 1.69000 crore is in circulation.
If yet your blood does not rage, then it is water that flows in your veins. For what is the flush of youth, if it is not of service to the motherland -chandrasekhar Azad Interpol secretary general Ronald K Noble in his deposition before the US International Centre for political violence and terror research, Singapore, had admitted that global piracy and counterfeit trade was annually worth US $ 650 billion. Global narcotic trade is worth US $ 322 billion. FBI ex-chief James Moody has said in 2001that counterfeit is the crime of the 21st Century. It was worth Rs 5.5 US $ in 1982, rose to US $200 bn in 1996 and now it is US $650 bn. International anti-counterfeiting coalition (IACC) has also pointed out that Innocent purchasers could be helping the terror inadvertently. International anti-counterfeiting coalition (IACC), which has come out with a White Paper on counterfeit trade in 2005, has pointed out that the Al Qaida terror training manuals reveal that organization recommends sale of fake goods as means to raise funds to support terror operations.
Time To wAke uP As a country with no articulated national security strategy or a declared counter terrorism doctrine, India has become a soft target for money laundering and economic terror. It urgently needs to improve the reliability of identification documents and understand the use of pooled accounts, PEPs, and nonface-to-face businesses for money laundering. It needs to address the
technical shortcomings in the criminalization of both money laundering and terror financing; and broaden the due-diligence obligations. There is a dire need for greater awareness of threat environment among the compliance officers in the banks and other financial institutions. A deeper study of possible terror financing scenarios and funding patterns, threat and risk assessments and situational awareness is important to effectively curb corruption and the threats to national security environment. Robust Know Your Customers (KYC) initiatives being put in place in various financial institutions could emerge as the bedrock of efforts at economic sanitization. In this, India needs to learn from the US, which has put in place effective measures to curb terror finances. Post-9/11, the US had put in place Operation Green Quest, a multiagency task force, to combat terror financing and had developed a fairly effective checklist of suspicious activities which help in identifying suspicious patterns. The Operation Green Quest was effective in tracking down terror financers and their fund flow patterns. Learning from the experiences, the US Government had transferred its treasury law enforcement wings to the Department of Homeland Security which was created in 2002. In 2004, the US created the Treasury Department’s Office of Ter-
rorism and Financial Intelligence in 2004 and this works closely with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body for articulating standards to combat money laundering and terror finance. India needs to set up an effective set up for financial intelligence analysis, targeted actions aimed at enhancing transparency in financial systems, inter-agency coordination and to foster a global approach to combat terror. Sadly, India, which has been constantly pressing for an early adoption of the long-pending Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) is yet to set up its much-publicized Secure Information Exchange Network (SIES) to track doubtful financial transactions, tax evasions and illegal exports. The SIES is part of the four national centres to be set up to tackle terror, the other three being National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). This four-pronged counter terror measures, initiated post-2008 Mumbai attacks, are still lost in the maze of State-Centre one-upmanship. Isn’t about the time India wakes up and shakes off its “Chalne Do” attitude? (The author is Senior Journalist)
Corruption is Mahan in Mera Bharat A handful of corrupt and unscrupulous persons are looting the funds and resources meant for the poor. This brazen misappropriation causing the frightful impoverishment of the millions of poor. This corruption induced poverty is now an accepted fact and many a research project have established and exposed these links, says journalist PANDArINATH PrABHALA
oney doesn’t grow on trees,” thus spake our dear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was referring to the fund crunch to continue with the subsidy schemes. That was a different setting and a different context. But, thanks to the all-pervading corruption, money is growing on trees for the corrupt and in the process this is deepening the divide between the rich and the poor. Omnipresent corruption not just hinders the economic development of the country, but also promotes poverty. Unbelievable, but utterly true! A handful of corrupt and unscrupulous persons are looting the funds and resources meant for the poor. This brazen misappropriation is fattening their purses, but is causing the frightful impoverishment of the millions of poor. This corruption induced poverty is now an accepted fact and many a research project have established and exposed these links. Of the crores of rupees that the Government is allocating for the welfare of the poor and the underprivileged, a paltry 15 per cent is actually reaching the deserved. Even
former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had admitted to this sorry plight. The funds illegally siphoned off thus will ensure that the welfare schemes die a painful death and the rightful beneficiaries suffer further destitution and depravity. The millions of crores that the Government is allocating for the education of the poor find their way into the pockets of the corrupt; and the educational sector gets deprived of the basic amenities and infrastructure. Thus, a handful of the corrupt enjoy highquality global standard education, while the millions of the poor find quality education a mirage. The International Monetary Fund has come up with another shocker. A mere 30 per cent of the food material being supplied through the public distribution system (PDS) manages to find its way into the
homes and hearths of the eligible beneficiaries. The remaining reaches the black market. The same scourge is tormenting the medical sector. For the countless millions of Indians, government hospitals are the only hope. But, they have to shell out bribes to everyone from a ward boy to the doctor. The medical officials’ sleight of hand ensures that funds meant for procurement and maintenance of medical equipment gets diverted. The common man on the other hand, has to pay for even a single pill. Lackadaisical attitude of the medical officials and the government's abjudication have led to a situation where the infant in-patients do not even get enough oxygen cylinders, needed for their very survival. Tens of such hapless children have died in the MGM hospital, Warangal and KGH in Vizag due to the non-availability of Oxygen cylinders. That corruption is at the root of this pathetic situation is a known fact. Sadly, the officials and the rulers that be are maintaining a sickening silence. A study report has clearly said that rampant corruption among the officials and the ruling elite is chiefly responsible for half of the deaths in
hospitals. Life, the most precious thing yet, is imperiled due to the corrupt practices of the staff and the officials. Hence, the middle class shudders at the very thought of going to a government-run hospital and spend a fortune to get their kin treated in a costly corporate hospital. Education is another area where corruption is rampant. Allocations are done merely on papers and an estimated 80 per cent of the funds evaporate en route thanks to the corrupt practices. The result? A minuscule few are getting richer, while a suffering majority is forced to shell out exorbitant amounts. Corruption is proving to be a bane for poor students. Education is no longer a service to be offered. Post-globalization, it is a commodity to be purchased at a high premium. Educational institutions, which have abjudicated the responsibility of character-building, do not seem suffer any pangs of conscience fleecing the students. These soul-less money spinners are being aided and abetted by corrupt mandarins of the education department. Even the top bosses and ministers shamelessly dance to the tunes of the corporate educational institutions and get monetary benefits in return. The current plight of educational sector is fathered by greedy corporates and mothered by acquiesing officialdom. The same story extends to the farm sector. Agriculture is at the mercy of the forces of nature and when the farmers suffer losses due to natural calamities, the government perfunctorily announces croploss compensation. Even this compensation has to travel a long way of official red-tapism and brave blocades of corruption and fleecing by officials and the political class to finally reach the affected farmer. It is due to the systemic corruption and apathy that most farmers are forced to end their lives. As someone said, the most tormenting pest that afflicts the agriculture today is corruption. Instead of lending a helping hand, the officialdom is busy pocketing kickbacks in the name of cloud-seeding. India is a rich country which spawns the poor. These poor sections toil to make a fortunate few get richer and richer. At the root of this process is a transparent veneer of corruption throbbing and thriving. Mera Bharat Mahan.
Corruption leads to poverty & inequality
orruption can be a major obstacle in the process of economic development and in modernizing a country. It undermines development by weakening the institutional foundation on which economic growth depends. Although corruption is viewed as one of the most severe bottlenecks in the process of economic development, very little is known for sure what causes corruption and why some countries are more corrupt than others. Poor countries are generally found to be more corrupt than rich countries. Countries where incomes are relatively low create certain structural incentives for corrupt behaviour. Shrabani Saha and Rukmani Gounder of the Department of Applied and International Economics of the New Zealand-based Massey University have studied the corruption determinants for over 100 countries. The results of their study were presented at the annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists in June 2007. Using Transparency Internationalâ€™s corruption perception indexes (CPI), they did comparative analysis of corruption identifying various determinants of corruption such as education, real per capita GDP, income inequality, unemployment rate, the type of state and economic freedom. They found that the corruption is lower in economically well-developed nations with higher levels of education and lower levels of inequity and unemployment. The case of India, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to Saha and Gounder, provides contradictory relationship between democracy and perceived corruption. Their study shows that lack of economic freedom and democracy can have incremental effects on perceived corruption. They argue that the influence of democracy in controlling corruption increases with the introduction of economic freedom. In other words, democracy along with economic freedom can control perceived corruption level. Further, their study clearly refutes any argument that it is democracy rather than economic freedom that is most crucial for controlling corruption. The study has also found that higher education has a depressing effect on perceived corruption in a country. Thus, efforts should be directed to the establishment of good education, decentralization of economic and political powers to aim at curbing corruption.
(The author is a Journalist)
The Corruption Goliath Corruption is all pervasive and as former prime minister Indira Gandhi famously said, it is universal. In our country almost every government office is a beehive of corruption, the difference being only in the degree of corruption. Some Government posts are considered plum only due to the amount of bribes offered and some others are considered 'punishment' postings due to their low bribe potential. In fact, the more regulations and restrictions, greater is the possibility of corruption.
n their seminal work 'Corruption in India,' eminent economist Prof. Vivek Debroy and Lavish Bhandari have estimated the total governmental corruption at Rs 92,000 crore. Thus the money is getting concentrated in a few hands, while the socially weaker sections continue to be deprived of their rightful benefits. According to the authors, transport and realty are two most virulently corrupt wings. A KPMG survey had said that telecom is the most corrupt, followed by the realty sectors and the slew of welfare departments in that order. The survey claimed that defence, IT and energy sectors have relatively lower levels of corruption.
PoliTiCAl CorruPTion The public trust in democratic processes in India is seriously undermined by opaque financing of electoral processes, widespread bribery and other forms of corrupt practices. The Global Corruption Barometer reveals that political parties are perceived by Indian citizens as one of the sectors most affected by corruption in the country, with a score of 4.6 on a 5 point scale. Freedom House reports that the electoral system relies on black money obtained by dubious means, including tax evasion. Although politicians are regularly involved in major corruption scandals,
CBI Court Judge Pattabhi being arrested by the ACB (file photo) investigations are rare and very few politicians and civil servants have been convicted. Circumstantial evidence confirms that practices such as buying votes with bribes or promises, conflicts of interest, or state capture are common in India. In last parliament 11 members of parliaments were accused of accepting cash for raising specific questions in Lok Sabha sessions and subsequently forced to resign. A Parliamentary Enquiry Committee was established to look into the alleged cash-for-votes scam during a trust vote. Three parliamentarians displayed wads of currency notes alleging that huge sums were of-
fered to them to save the Manmohan Singh government. The report presented found the evidence unconvincing and recommended further investigations on the role played by the three parliamentarians. The entry of criminals into politics - despite laws requiring public disclosure of candidatesâ€™ assets, criminal records and educational backgrounds - is another alarming facet of political corruption in India. According to The Economist, more than a fifth of federal parliament members faced criminal charges. Of the 522 members of Indiaâ€™s current parliament, 120 are facing criminal charges; around 40 of
wheels of CorruPTion Nothing moves in the transport department without bribes. A recent Transparency International survey has said that the truckers across the nation shell out a staggering Rs 22,000 crores every year at the interstate checkposts and entry points. The survey has also said that while the transport wing pockets a coo; 43 per cent, the police take home another 45 per ent. The remaining bribe finds its way into the pockets of the corrupt forest, legal metrology, octroi, excise and commercial tax officials. Due to the unlawful detaining of the vehicles and the inordinate delay in getting their released, the number of trips per truck has dropped by 40 per cent, thereby causing delay in food and material transport. A 2007 World Bank report has pointed out that removal of these hassles can reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Delhi by two days. 'driving' forCe The Road Transport Authority is another beehive of corruption. Securing a driving licence is a herculean task given the high amount of corruption involved. The red-tapism can be harrowing for the citizens and one has to shell out two times more money and get a license with the help of private agencies. A huge portion of this amount finds its way into the pockets of the corrupt RTA officials. The corruption in the RTA is enabling ineligible persons to secure driving licence without undergoing proper tests. Due to this, there are road mishaps galore, mostly caused by inefficient drivers. Several lives too are lost in these mishaps.
Courtesy: Prashanth Viswanath
these are accused of serious crimes, including murder and rape.
This corruption stinks!! C
orruption is everywhere! Even such gunky, slimy and filthy thing as a toilet too could be a source of payola. Indeed corruption stinks, literally!! The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan of the Union Government is the case in point. This scheme is meant to provide affordable sanitary toilets to the rural poor, especially the poorest, the handicapped and those belonging to the SC and ST groups. Initially, Rs 3500 were given to the beneficiaries. However, it was found that the amount is too meagre to build sanitary toilets. Consequently, it was decided to sanction Rs 10000 of which Rs 4500 was to be given under the Food for Work scheme and the Central government component was to be Rs 4600. The beneficiary was to pay the remaining Rs 900. As part of the scheme, works worth Rs 300 crore have been taken up this year, of which Rs 150 crore have been sanctioned this year. This scheme is being implemented by the Rural Water Supply department. However,
sensing large-scale irregularities, the Anti-Corruption Bureau sleuths kept a watch on the goings on in Karimnagar district. What they unraveled was a stinking scam. The MDOs prepared lists of fictitious beneficiaries, while the RWS officials released the funds. The spoils, which ran into to tens of crores of rupees, were shared among them. The ACB sleuths found that in Karimnagar district alone, funds worth Rs 30 crore, originally meant for toilet construction, were eaten away. Of the 2.5 lakh toilets sanctioned, close to 60000 were found to be sanctioned in the names of fictitious persons. The scamsters had even ‘managed’ the beneficiaries so that they vouch for the release of funds. Even the so-called beneficiaries were given their share of the spoils. Shocked ACB is now probing into the toilet scheme in other districts too. They expect that the scam might run into thousands of crores making unscrupulous and corrupt mandarins ‘stinking rich’.
'PAssPorT' To bribe Passport department is a picture perfect of blooming corruption, with the evil afflicting every level. There is a perfect symbiosis between the officials of various levels. Ignore them at your own peril as you would have to do unending rounds to the passport office to secure a passport. While terrorists easily get a passport, while the general public have to countenance an unending barrage of queries to secure the same.
CorruPTion in heAlTh dePT The cancerous growth of corruption and irregularities in the medical and health department is a cause of deep concern. The government is spending enormous amounts to ensure public health and access to quality medicare. However, a huge chuck of government allocation is being siphoned off by the corrupt, thus impoverishing the government hospital, our first line of health defence. Huge amounts are being allocated fpr the prestigious National Rural Health Scheme of the Central Government. In 2004-2005 alone, a whopping Rs 27700 crore have been allocated for the scheme. But, this ambitious and well-meaning scheme has emerged as a haven for the corrupt. Several highlevel functionaries of the scheme are now behind the bars on charges of irregularities. The lurking suspicion and lingering doubts about the inscrutable sudden death of a few arrested officials is indicative perhaps of the existence of a mafia behind the scam. One of the officials had passed away in jail and his death is still a subject matter of investigation. Estimates show that at least Rs 10,000 crores have been siphoned away in this scheme. CorruPTion unAbATed Irrigation is key to agricultural
he Indian court system consists of a supreme court, High Courts at State level and Subordinate courts at district and local level. According to the Global Corruption Report, the upper judiciary is considered relatively clean, with open court proceedings and free access to prosecution documents, authenticated orders, etc. In the lower justice institutions, corruption is reportedly rampant and systemic. The Global Corruption Barometer gives the judiciary a score of 3.8 on a 5 point scale, while 80% of the TI India CMS studyâ€™s respondents perceive the judiciary as corrupt. 47% claim to have paid bribes to lawyers or court officials. Court procedures are very slow and complicated, and the court system is severely backlogged and understaffed. This results in delays in the processing of cases, and a loss of confidence in the law and in the justice system. (Freedom House 2008 estimates that there are currently 30 million civil and criminal cases pending). There is also a high level of discretion in the processing of paperwork during trials and multiple points where court officials can misuse their power with impunity. In such contexts, people are tempted to resort to bribes, favours, hospitality or gifts not only to obtain a favourable decision but to move the case through the system and speed up the court proceedings. The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the Constitution and India is ranked 26th of 131 countries on indicators of judicial independence in the Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008. According to the Global Corruption Report , however, there have been recent cases of political interference in judicial decisions involving powerful individuals. In spite of the various legal provisions in place, the appointment of judges is not always free from political interference. The Global Integrity Report also rates judicial accountability as weak. The weakness of the judiciary, the lack of political independence of the police and poor law enforcement contribute to a culture of impunity where few politicians or civil servants are indicted or convicted for corruption. and rural prosperity and is a guarantee against starvation. But, even in this sector the corrupt are managing to channelise the funds into their coffers, leaving the farmers in tears of despair. From land acquisiton to tendering process, corruption is everywhere in irrigation sector. YSR-era Jalayagnam is a case in point. The ambitious Jala Yagnam, launched in 2004, envisaged construction of 30 major and 18 medium and several minor irrigation projects to bring an additional 73 lakh acres under the command area, besides quenching the thirst of 1.20 crore people and generate 1700 mw of
power. The project entailed allocations to a tune of Rs 73,000 crore. While no one knows how many acres have been additionally brought under command area, huge amounts have been siphoned off by the contractorbabu-politico nexux. In case of the prestigious Polavaram project, canals were dug even before the reservoir was constructed, rendering them utterly useless. Irrigation experts claim that this was done only to fatten the purses of contractors and politicos. This has emerged as a classic example of unpardonable wastage of public money. (FAIR media Team)
omptroller and Auditor General of India had in 2011 rapped Andhra Pradesh government for under-utilising SSA funds meant for constructing schools, buying computers and for cooking mid-day meals for school children. Corruption happens when one misspends public money and also for not spending the same or for spending for purposes other than the prescribed one. Precisely, corruption is breaking of law. This violation can take place in several forms, take for instance the claims of 98 per cent child enrollment in schools by the State and the Central Governments. If one goes by their claims, then there should be no children working in the farms, no kid washing the utensils in a hotel and everyone should have been schools. Yet, a new survey shows that more AP children have stunted growth due to under-nourishment. Stunting has seriou long-term implications for the health, psycho-social well-being and educational achievement of the children. This is what Arindam Chowdary, a business guru, writes in his blog, “A recent report by British media revealed that millions of pounds of aid for education under the Sarva Shiksha
A crime AgAiNst educAtiON
Abhiyan (SSA) programme have literally disappeared. The report put this figure at a staggering £340 million, which is around Rs 2,327 crore! To further this report, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) investigation found that almost £14 million (around Rs 100 crore) had been spent on luxuries viz. new cars, luxury beds, computers et al that have nothing to do with the SSA. So much so that around Rs 1.02 crore was transferred into nontraceable bank accounts. Not just that, electronic equipments like air conditioners, faxes, photocopiers, colour television sets et al were bought for regions which had no electricity supply!
And that’s just one side of the entire SSA story! Another CAG report reveals that around 68 per cent of the Rs 8000 crore allotted for ‘Elementary Education’ development work under SSA, had no records. A 2006 report highlighted irregularities of fundusage to a tune of Rs 470 million in 14 states in SSA schemes. A cursory glance through media reports in the span of the last few years is enough to give an idea about how states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are spending allocated funds on projects that have nothing to do with SSA. As such, India is amongst the lowest
spenders on education. Couple this with the fact that India also houses the maximum number of illiterates in the world! In this light, it is criminal that funds to a tune of thousands of crores get siphoned away just like this. Putting the numbers into perspective, if the total allocated money (Rs 31,036 crore as per the budget 2010-11) were to be disbursed directly to 192 million children (or 19.2 crore children), who officially come under the ambit of SSA, then each student would receive more than Rs 1600 each this year. Considering that a student generally has to pay an average monthly fee of Rs 100 (actually ranges from Rs 70-150 in rural areas) at rural elementary schools in India, giving Rs 1600 annually to students directly would not only enable them to pay the annual fees, but would also result in some extra pocket money! The direct disbursement seems to be a much more rational and fruitful in view of the massive corruption and scams”. What can one do about it? The same old principle works here, get organized! Take the governments to task and make them accountable for their jobs and make them deliver what is mandated.
Stumbling block in the fight
he legal framework for curbing and controlling corruption is primarily based on statutory and common law. The existing legislations and executive orders have found wanting and need changes. The prevention of corruption Act 1988 has many bottle-necks, especially while dealing with administrative corruption. Prior sanction to prosecute a public servant is a stumbling block in fight against corruption. Past experience has shown that, this provision has often resulted in diluting the gravity due to: i) inordinate delay in according sanction ii)the provision is used to shield the corrupt officials either through political interference or by bribing. In Andhra Pradesh, the disposal of corruption related cases is not uniform. Employees indulging in petty corruption get punished, whereas, higher officials involved in grand corruption by subverting the system generally in collusion with political parties go scot free on with lesser punishment. Corruption in any form or any scale con not be justified, but problem comes when a village revenue officials demanding the accept petty bribe of issuing for giving a pat-
tedar pass book in imprisoned for one year and this is in contrast to cases pertaining officers involved in huge corruption or found having disproportionate assets are pending in secretariat for prior sanction of an appropriate authority. Forum for Good Governance has obtained information through R.T.I. Act regarding the number of cases Anti Corruption Bureau (A.C.B.) has referred to government for permission to prosecute during lost 10 years. It is observed that (665) cases were referred by A.C.B. for permission to prosecute were rejected totally on some pretext or other or modified to departmental action etc. A.P. Secretariat is protecting the tainted officials from standing before the court of law. The long and pains taking enquiries by A.C.B. and Vigilance
Commission are finally negated in secretariat. To cite some examples, the Revenue department in secretariat is having (36) cases referred by A.C.B. and (115) cases referred by A.P. Vigilance Commission for the year 2011. No proper action is being taken to accord permission for prosecution. When asked for information for delay under R.T.I. they are refusing to provide information, appeal to Prl. Secretary Revenue has not yielded any result. After all, giving permission to prosecute a particular officer is not awarding punishment it is only a part of due process of law and if the officer is not guilty the court will exonerate him. (Based on the report released by Forum for Good governance)
Sampling out corruption is a very tough job, but I say so in all seriousness that we would be failing in our duty if we do not tackle this problem seriously and with determination. -Lal Bahadur Shastri 53
lathi & The loot
The civil society has a mission critical role to play in curbing the all-pervasive corruption in the society, including the police department. It has to sensitise the police and the people at large about the dangers that arise from unbriddled corruption. The police department needs an Ombudsman-like council comprising senior cops with impeccable integrity and unquestionable honesty, argues Journalist PANDArINATH PrABHALA
who play a critical role in effecting appointments and transferes and in disbursing rewards and punishments. At the external level, receiving gratifications for allowing the criminals and wrongdoers go scot-free, is the root of the vicious cycle of corruption. The police is also resorting to unbriddled cruelty, fake encounters, gender harassment, custodial crimes and unlawful usage of weapons Though pay hike, better training, promotion of education, handing down of incentives and a slew of welfare measures are being touted as panaceas for prventing corruption among the police, the results have not been too encouraging. Despite allocating 67 per cent of Home Ministerial allocations and despite expending huge amounts on modernisation, the behaviour and attitude of the police department has not shown the desirable improvement. Instances such as a police SI demanding bribe to hand over to the kin the body of a person who had committed suicide or of a cop getting convicted for implicating small trader to extract bribe are many. Instances such as these make the people lose faith in the police and give an impression that money can make the police dance to one's tunes.
olice corruption may be defined as the misuse of official power and position for personal or institutional benefit. But this is too complicated a concept to comprehend as it has several facets to it. However, one thing that can be safely said is that police corruption is, to borrow Indira Gandhi's phase, universal. The police corruption is both external as well as internal. Corruption in the police-public interface is external corruption, while the intra-departmental unlawful activities, criminal connivance between officials and competitive wrongdoings constitute the internal corruption. Corruption among the police has become so pervading that its work efficiency and even the very raison de'tre of the department are being seriously compromised. Due to this, crime, instead of being put under leash, gets accentuated further. The police officials are becoming increasingly unable to act as a professional body. One of the main reasons for this sorry state of affairs is the politicisation of the department and the undue and undesirable interference of the politicos in appointments and transferes to have 'yes men' in positions of influence . As a result, self interest takes precedence over the public good and the police are working overtime to please their political bosses,
insTAnCes gAlore Five cops were arrested for tak-
ing bribe to a tune of Rs 7 lakh to allow explosives and weapons from Rajgarh into Mumbai. They were found guilty of criminal dereliction of duties. These very weapons and explosives were used to trigger 12 blasts in Mumbai in 1993. An SI was taking into custody on charges of accepting bribes. He had managed to give a slip. Later raids on his office have led to the seizure of Rs 50000 in cash and 100 grams of psychotropic substances. The SI was involved in the investigation of theft and had demanded a bribe of Rs 2 lakh from the mother of an undertrial in order to get him bail. The hapless woman had agreed to pay up the bribe in installments. Police mandarins alone cannot retrieve the situation. Politicos and the Home Ministry too have a critical role to play. In fact, the PIL filed by former director of the BSF, Prakash Singh, is the first ever initiative aimed at cleaning up the police department. Singh has called for a thinking police and pointed out that his understanding of the political influence, corruptio and criminality in the police department has come from his deep experience spanning well over 35 years. In fact, a committee, comprising luminaries such as former attorney genral Soli Sorabjee, former chief of
the BSF Ajay Raj Sharma, former Delhi police commissioner, director general of the Police Research and Development Bureau and others, was constituted on September 20, 2005 to prepare draft recommendations for a law aimed at transparancy and accountability in the police department. The Apex Court had directed the State and the Central Governments to implement reforms in the department based on the recommendations of the committee. The Apex Court felt that these reforms would go a long way in insulating the police department from undue political pressures and influences. Among the major recommendations: a) Minimum tenure for senior police officials, including the DGPs. b) Constitution of Security Commissions at the State-level. c) De-seggregation of Law and
Order from crime investigation duties d) Setting up of a police panel to decide on transfers and promotions. It is important to realise that the civil society too has a mission critical role to play in curbing the all-pervasive corruption, including the police department. It has to sensitise the police and the people at large about the dangers that arise from unbriddled corruption. The police department today needs an Ombudsman-like council comprising senior cops with impeccable integrity and unquestionable honesty. Let us be clear about the fact that no change can be effected overnight. Equally doubtless is the fact that it is the small beginning that leads to farreaching changes. Let us all work for the small beginning which will bring in the anti-corruption revolution.
ow much can a lowly khalasi earn in his lifetime? A few thousands or at the most a lakh of rupees… you would say. But, have you ever seen a khalasi amassing – hold your breath – a crore in cash and half a kg of gold? Meet Rabindro Kumar Mishra, a khalasi in the Public Health Engineering Organisation in Bhubaneswar! When the vigilance sleuths raided his ramshackle asbestos-roofed shanty, they were in for the shock of their lives. They literally stumbled upon a treasure trove. His ill-gotten assets were worth no less than Rs 1.16 crore.
(The author is a Journalist)
do you know? • At least a half of India’s population has paid bribes to get its work done. They have paid bribes at least once in their life. • According to Bengaluru-base website ipaidabribe.com, it has received 11300 reports of bribes, valued at Rs 29,00,00,000 in Bangalore alone. This is only those who took pains to report. What about those countless millions who have chosen to remain silent? • According to a World Bank report, only 40 per cent of the food grains meant for the poor actually get to reach them. The remainder is siphoned off by the corrupt. Similarly, corruption in basic services like education, healthcare, judiciary and
police is of the order of 5 billion US dollars every year. • Truckers in India pay $5 billion in bribes at the check-posts. • India is at the top of the charts when it comes to black money. An estimated US$1456 billion worth of Indian money is stashed away in Swiss banks. According to Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India has more black money than the rest of the world combined.
He owns two swank houses, one of them being a palatial mansion worth over Rs 50 lakh. He was also found to possess four house sites and had paid advances for another couple of sites. He also owns an ancestral house. Mishra is the proud owner of gold ornaments weighting a whopping 551 grams and silver ornaments weighing 734 gm. His investments in insurance and bank accounts were 27.80 lakh. How can an ordinery khalasi amass so much wealth? Sure he must have been acting as the innocuous mukhauta for some corrupt chehera. Tear away the mukhauta, the devious chehera will sure become obvious.
‘Now or Never’ plunge Ambitious schemes, well-meaning projects and laudable ideas are all being reduced to zilch, thanks to the omnipresent corruption in India, says K SurYA PuTrA
he common refrain of the citizens of India is that one can bribe ones way here and that everything is negotiable. One only has to know the price and be prepared to pay it. Corruption is all pervading in India. From womb to tomb, one has to countenance corruption. There are millions who share this perception about India and its flawed system of governance. Corruption has grown over the decades and now affects virtually every Indian. The man on the street is voicing what Berlin-based Transparancy International has been saying every year. This anti-corruption watchdog ranked India 87th most corrupt among 178 nations across the globe. True, the Right to Information Act is in place. The NGO activism is on the rise and the people are getting increasingly worried about the ever-rising levels of corruption in the country. The media is hyper-active and the scribes are all armed with their sting operations. Yet, the corruption index continues to rise. In 2009, India was ranked 84th most corruption nation. Within a span of a year, it plummeted to 87th. From the petty bribe that one pays to the wayside traffic cop, to the honourable honchos of India's power pyramid behemoth, corruption is ubiquitous. At government establishments, including hospitals and police stations, citizens often encounter cor-
ruption of another kind. This involves having to pay bribes to get services which they are entitled to get free of cost. This kind of corruption hurts the poor directly and immediately. Transparency International’s India chapter, which studied the working of 11 government services, four years ago, estimated that people living below the poverty line paid over Rs 9 billion annually as bribes to get basic need-based services. Indeed, hadn't our own Iron Lady Indira Gandhi famously said that "Corruption was a universal phenomenon?" Economists are now arguing that corruption has become the biggest roadblock to emerging India. Our own affable president Pranab Mukherjee, in his earlier avatar as the Union Finance Minister, too has said that the black money stashed away overseas by Indians could be anything between $462 billion and $1.4 trillion. The Global Financial In-
tegrity, a US-based research and policy advocacy body, estimates that India may have lost $462 billion due to illicit financial flows.
sCAms hisTory India has a long and unenviable history of scams and scandals relating to financial irregularities. The history of corruption in postIndependence India begins with Jeep Scandal in 1948, when the then Indian High Commissioner in London procured jeeps circumventing due procedures. Despite the opposition hullabaloo, the Government chose to close the case. This was followed by Mudgal case (1951), Mundra deals (1957-58), Malaviya-Sirajuddin scandal (1963), and Pratap Singh Kairon case (1963) . In all these cases, an indulgent Nehru chose to look the other way and the corrupt went scotfree. Indira Gandhi era had its Nagarwala case and the Rajiv
“If the deaf are to hear, the sound has to be very loud.” -Bhagat Singh
Gandhi-era had its share of corruption cases like Fairfax, HBJ Pipeline, and HDW Submarine deal and the famous Bofor’s deal. PV Narsimha Rao became the first ever Prime Minister in the country to be prosecuted on corruption charges. Scams such as the Rs.2500-crore -Airbus A-320 deal with France (1990), Harshad Mehta security scam (1992), Gold Star Steel and Alloys controversy (1992), JMM bribery case, Hawala scam of Rs. 65 crore and Urea scam (1996) were PV regime’s gift to the nation. The BJP, which trumpeted itself as a party with a difference, too wasn't without its share of scams, though much smaller in scope and magnitude. The famous Tehelka footage of BJP chief Bangaru Laxman avariciously stuffing wads of currency into his briefcase gave the country a shocking glimpse of behind-the-door financial inexactitudes and gifted the expression "Sting Operation" to the political lexicon. CBI sources tell us that every year the organization is asked to delve into over 1000 cases of corruption by bureaucratic babus and political bosses. Recent scams like the 2G Spectrum, Adarsh Housing Society, ISRO, the Common Wealth Game scam and the curious case of Hasan Ali have shaken the society to the core. The Comptroller and Auditor General, the constitutional authority mandated to look into government spending, reported in 2010 that the manner in which the government al-
located 2G spectrum to mobile companies had resulted in a loss of Rs 1,760 billion. He had also pointed out that a deal between the Indian Space Research Organisation’s commercial subsidiary and a private company floated by a former ISRO official has inflicted an even greater loss. The deal gives the private operator free access to costly S-band spectrum. Unfortunately, unlike the other major countries of Asia like China, Japan and South Korea, India has a poor record in tracking down corruption at the top. It is the Government that bosses CBI, the premier investigative agency of India. An anti-corruption site has estimated that candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections in the country cumulatively spend more that Rs 8000 crore, which is grossly disproportionate to their known or declared wealth. How the politicos get this amount is anybody's guess.
fuTile CommiTTees India did make some efforts at understanding the scourge of corruption. But, they were at best halfhearted. As early as in 1950, eminent civil servant AD Gorwala was asked by the federal government to recommend improvements in the system of governance. In his report, which was titled Report on Public Administration, Planning Commission, Government of India 1951, Gorwala had highlighted the issue of corruption and the efforts of the powers that be
to shield the corrupt. The Santhanam Committee, which was appointed by the Government in 1962 to examine the issue of corruption had also pointed out how deep-rooted nepotism and misappropriation. PostHavala, the Union Government has appointed former Home Secretary NN Vohra to study the problem of criminalization of politics and the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in the country. The report had pointed out that the criminal network was virtually running a parallel government through the nexus between the politicians, officials and the criminals. It revealed that political leaders had become the leaders of gangs. The committee said: "there has been a rapid spread and growth of criminal gangs, armed Senas, drug mafias, smuggling gangs and economic lobbies in the country, which have over the years developed an intensive network of contacts with bureaucrats, government functionaries at local level, politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in non-state sector. Some of these syndicates have also international linkages including the foreign agencies.”
develoPmenT hiT The much-touted progress that India is clams to be have made, is offset by the unmanageable levels of corruption. In fact, the deep-rooted corruption in our public institutions perpetuates poverty and affects the
socially marginalised sections further alienating them. They are made to feel that they are being left out of the progress made by the rest of the population. Thus, corruption leads to discontent and a feeling of exclusion among the deprived sections.
whiff of hoPe It is not that the civil society and the people at large did not fight the corrupt system. In 1989, the issue of Bofors scam was made an election issue and the incumbent government of Rajiv Gandhi was successfully unseated. The Right to Information Act (RTA) is one such bold initiative.
Brought in 2005, it is aimed at bringing transparency in governance. Despite the teething troubles and operational hitches, the act still is a powerful tool to bring about accountability. The civil society of late has shown that there is still some sting remaining in its tail by organizing movements for a comprehensive Jan Lokpal bill.. But, later events have shown that the gains of civil society responsiveness have been frittered away. All these tell us that there is still a long way to go. A people's movement against corruption is what is needed now. If India aspires to sup at the
The fighter indefatigable A
rvind Kejriwal. The very mention of this name sends shivers down the spine of corrupt politicians. Kejriwal had made sensational disclosures about the land grab scams of no less a person than Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi and sun-in-law of AICC supremo Sonia Gandhi. This was soon followed up by allegations of corruption against the then BJP chief Nitin Gadkari. Despite all his protestations, Gadkari had to eventually step down. He had then trained his guns on Salman Khurshid, the suave union minister and alleged that the trust that he runs has embezzled money from the minority welfare fund. Naturally, there is great curiosity about Kejriwal and his background. Here are the answers to the five Ws and a H. Born in the non-descript village of Shivni in a family that perennially endured penury,
Kejriwal had always been a bright student. He went on to clear the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) - a dream job for many youth in the country - in his maiden attempt. Soon after joining, he had vowed to eliminate corruption, which, he felt, was nothing short of a scourge. As an IT officer in New Delhi, he created sensation when he had hoisted banners asking people to approach him if any of his staff members sought gratification. Over 1000 complaints were registered in a span of two years. He made life difficult for the corrupt. Soon, he felt he could not fight corruption even while remaining in the government job and chucked
high-table of nations, it must reflect on and understand the significant connection between growth, development and a corruption-free, equitable society. Curbing corruption, transparency and accountability in governance and equal access to resources and opportunities are the three growth engines that would take India to the next level of growth and development. Norms of justice and of accountability of the administration alone would underpin our economic development. Hence, a civil society movement is the need of the hour and every citizen with conscience has to take a now-or-never plunge.
his job to plunge headlong into social movements. His work as a social activist saw him bagging the coveted Ramon Magsaysay award, which included a cash prize of Rs 30 lakh. The whole amount was given away to Public Cause Research Foundation. A firm believer in the philosophy that corruption makes the life of the poor a living hell, he strongly roots for the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is this movement that drew him closer to Anna Hazare and made him launch Aam Admi Party, a party that has anti-corruption as its chief plank. He also feels that youth are his mainstay and roots for the youth of the country. Kejriwal is inspired by Vivekanandaâ€™s preaching and Gandhian thought. He strongly feels that these are the source of strength. A firm believer in Indian youth, he feels the youth alone can bring about a positive change in the society. Arvind Kejriwalâ€Ś May his tribe increase!! (The author is Chavali Pragna)
“Wealth, power and efficency are the appurtenances of life and not life itself.” -Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishna
Three pronged approach to fight corruption
ribe… Payoff… corrupt money… enticement…. Feedbag…. Green money…. Grease… Whatever the name, this is corruption and financial misdemeanor. And social organisations, activists and NGOs are working to eliminate this scourge. Yet, they are unable to fathom how deep the roots of corruption have penetrated. The government has a threepronged mechanism to combat corruption. The three agencies are: the CBI, ACB and the Lokayukta. CBI is the premier investigating agency of the country and is involved in unraveling crime and wrongdoings. Sans political interference, the CBI can fix the case In no time. It can probe into the financial wrongdoings and other criminal misdemeanors of government officials, people’s representatives, public servants, heads of government corporations. It is the CBI which investigates inter-state crime and takes up cases on the express orders of the judiciary. Enforcement Directorate too has similar functions, but related to financial crimes like money laundering, havala and scams. However, obtaining government permission is necessary to proceed against people’s representatives and the top echelons of bureaucracy. The CBI,
ACB also steps in whenever it gets a complaint against central/state government employees or the public representatives of possessing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income.
Anti-corruption Bureau (AcB), Road no. 12, MLA’s colony Road, Banjara Hill, Hyderabad. Ph: 155361 (toll free) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org central Bureau of Investigation (cBI) 3rd Floor, Kendriya Sadan, Sultan Bazaar, Koti, Hyderabad Ph: 09441113444, 040-24653986 e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Lokayukta, H.no. 5-9-49, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad - 500 063 Ph: 040-23232877 Email: email@example.com Website: http://lokayukta.ap.nic.in
At the state level, the ACB or the Anti-Corruption Bureau operates to curb corruption among the government employees, those taking honorarium from the government, contractors taking up projects involving Government money, employees of the government corporations and people’s representatives. Recently, the ACB has successfully trapped a cardiologist for taking Rs 1.25 lakh as a bribe to provide stents to former MP Atmacharan Reddy. He was caught red-handed while accepting bribe. The ACB has also played a key role in unraveling the liquor syndicates and the attendant corruption. Several excise and police officials were trapped. However, political pressures have ensured that the case progresses no further. In several instances, the Lokayukta takes up cases suo motu. It is imperative that the public at large make effective use of these institutions to curb corruption. Silence may be golden in other cases, but when it comes to corruption, we should fight to get the country rid of the scourge of corruption. Come… lets join hands in this fight against corruption and strive for the alround development of the country. -fAir media team