Participating in the discussion for consideration and passing of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)Bill, 2013, Naresh Agrawal (SP) suggested that the government was bringing such anti-corruption bills in a “haste” alleging it was seeking to deflect attention from its “failure” in bringing back black money and called for a “reconsideration” of the measure
Opposition in Rajya Sabha on Thursday advocated caution on an anti-graft bill with a Samajwadi Party member saying the new law instead of checking the menace will increase corruption and make elected representatives more vulnerable.Participating in the discussion for consideration and passing of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)Bill, 2013, Naresh Agrawal (SP) suggested that the government was bringing such anti-corruption bills in a “haste” alleging it was seeking to deflect attention from its “failure” in bringing back black money and called for a “reconsideration” of the measure. Holding that mere enactment of laws cannot check corruption, he cited instances of the situation after enactment of tough laws on violence against women after the Nirbhaya gang rape case and asked whether cases of women atrocities have stopped after that.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The anti-corruption amendment bill is aimed at enhancing penalty for graft to a maximum of seven years from five years now, among other new provisions to check the menace. Agarwal rued that while MPs can lose their membership in corruption cases after this bill, prior permission will be required for action against any officer of and above the Joint Secretary level.”Once this law comes into force, cops can put behind bars anybody they want. It is not good giving so much powers to the police. The membership of MPs can go but you are protecting officers. You will have to take prior permission to start prosecution against them. You want to protect officers at the level of Joint Secretary,” Agrawal said.Citing instances or “legalised commission” for defence deals in some foreign countries, he highlighted complexities of implementing the new anti-graft law in India. While asserting that corruption has to be fought tooth and nail, the SP member said that there is a need to work with a “practical” approach. Flagging similar concerns, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while everyone was committed to fight corruption, “such a law should not be made, which make all of us helpless. … There is a need to think about it. We are committed to check corruption but it should not be a case that the one who is committed to it, does not survive”.KC Tyagi (JD-U) said he considered the measure “a good bill brought in haste”. Agrawal said “nowadays an atmosphere is being created that politicians are the most dishonest people in the country. If there is a talk of increasing the salary of MPs, it leads to a huge uproar in the whole country.”What is not taken note is that as an MP has to meet the needs of his constituency and its people, which bureacrats do not have to do, he said. “Such bills will promote corruption. Bills are being framed to by-pass (issues). What will happen to old laws dealing with corruption. Will all of them go away? Remove those laws first and then bring the new law. Please read this bill again,” the SP member said.Agrawal also found it “contradictory” that the government and wondered why two “contradictory” bills have been listed for passage, including the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and said while the first bill prescribes punishment to bribe givers, the second awards those informing about bribe demands.K C Tyagi (JD-U) said he considered the measure “a good bill brought in a haste” and rued that while MPs have to lose their membership over such issues, there are dozens of secretaries, who served in corporate houses after their government service, which gives rise to suspicions about some quid pro quo.He also demanded that a law be enacted to ensure that no Chief Justice holds any post at least for ten years after retirement. Tyagi also faulted Congress for making a former Chief Election Commissione (CEC) a Rajya Sabha member and said “if any CEC picks up a government post or becomes a member of some party after retirement, his role must have been questionable”.In this context, he also referred to the on-going CBI probe against a former CBI Director. He also made a strong pitch for curtailing the whopping rise in poll expenditure, Tyagi said that as long this is not done, efforts to check corruption will not bear fruit. Minister of State in PMO Jitender Singh said he endorsed the view of the opposition members. “It is not the elimination of corruption. It is the incorruptibility, which has to be the target.”He said that while the point of the Opposition is well taken “but still we need to have a mechanism” and pointed out that the bill has already gone to the Standing Committee.Shantaram Naik (Cong) attacked the NDA government on the Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh. He alleged that despite the involvement of about 3,000 persons in the Vyavsyik Pariksha Mandal Scam in Madhya Pradesh, with 1,850 in jail and about 50 persons dying in “mysterious circumstances”, the government has refused to use provisions of prevention of Corruption Act 1988 against state leadership.Naik, said the government has also refused to take cognizance of the fact that the name of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and his wife figured in the scam. Similarly, there was a “revenue loss of 600 crores due to undue favours” shown to a private tobacco (Gutka) company, he claimed. He also alleged the existence of a Rs 36,000 crore scam in public distribution in Chhattisgarh, where government raided 36 offices of Civil Supplies Department and about 12 Civil Supplies officers were arrested.He suggested that the provisions regarding attachment of property recovered, in disproportionate assets cases, as also proceeds of bribery should be effectively implemented. Naik said the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 was enacted during Rajiv Gandhi’s time and in the course of implementation a number of politicians including members of Congress Party suffered jail sentences.”When charges were levelled against Union Ministers and a Chief Minister of State during UPA regime, they were made to resign by Congress leadership, but in NDA rule corrupt are protected all throughout,” he said.Mansukh Lal Mandavia (BJP) called for a uniform law to deal with corruption. “Corruption is fuelled by black money and strong action needs to be taken against it,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister was committed to bringing back black money.
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Opposition in Rajya Sabha cautions government on anti-graft bill
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