Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lok Satta demands speedy trial in corruption cases

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that various wings of the Union Government initiate action against the guilty if there is any truth in the allegations made by India against Corruption (IAC) against Mr. Robert Vadra.

Dr. JP said that action is warranted irrespective of evidence of quid pro quo and added that the issue need not be politicized.

Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that the IAC accused Mr. Robert Vadra of receiving an unsecured interest-free loan of Rs.65 crore from real estate firm DLF and that he acquired real estate from DLF at less than the market value. If the charges are true, they must be dealt with beyond politics.

Dr. JP asked what the independent directors in the public listed company were doing when the company advanced an interest-free loan to the detriment of its shareholders. The Registrar of Companies is duty bound to inquire into the irregularity. If the allegation is correct, the Income Tax Department should treat the receipt of money by Mr. Robert Vadra as unassessed income and impose tax and penalty. The IT Department is entitled to acquire the property for the Government if it is registered for less than the market value.

Dr. JP said that people were losing faith in the Government and the judiciary because the wheels of justice grind very slowly in India. He said that the trial in Satyam Ramalinga Raju's case is yet to begin and the investigation into cases against YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy seems to last for years going by CBI's submissions in the Supreme Court.

In contrast, justice is rendered swiftly in countries like China and the U. S. He cited the instance of Bo, a rising star and Politburo member of the Chinese Communist Party and his wife being punished in a case of corruption and murder of a British businessman, Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Governor, being jailed for seeking donation to fund his election in return for nomination to a Senate seat vacated by President Barrack Obama and an NRI couple being jailed and deprived of all their property for indulging in medical fraud. In India, it took more than ten years to bring the guilty in Rajiv Gandhi assassination to book whereas it took only one year in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination.

Dr. JP said people would regain faith in justice only if the guilty are meted out deterrent punishment swiftly. He demanded that special courts be constituted on a permanent basis to try corruption cases. Investigative agencies like the CBI and the ACB should be freed from seeking prior Government clearances for taking up investigation into cases against public servants. A law should be passed to facilitate attachment of properties in corruption cases. Prosecutors should be independent and immunized from political interference.

Dr. JP welcomed TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu's letter to the Prime Minister seeking autonomy for the CBI. In this connection, Dr. JP recalled that he had submitted a private Bill for amending the Prevention of Corruption Act but it is yet to see the light of the day because neither the ruling Congress nor the Opposition TDP is interested in it.

In reply to a question on the Government of India permitting FDI in retail, Dr. JP said that while he welcomed it as a means to reduce the country's current account deficit, he did not subscribe to the Government flaunting it as a piece of radical reform and the Opposition rubbishing it as a catastrophe. The country is crying for reforms in fields like education, healthcare, agriculture, police, judiciary, elections and corruption. But the Governments would not undertake them.

In reply to a question, he said that the Lok Satta would welcome formation of Telangana as part of a comprehensive and amicable solution. He appealed to all parties and organizations not to fan hatred among brethren since they cannot change geography even after the State is carved out into two or three pieces.

He reiterated the Lok Satta Party is prepared to work together with the party proposed to be grounded by Mr. Avind Kerjiwal since they shared common goals. Informal consultations are going on right now, Dr. JP added.

Lok Satta leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and E. Chennayya took part in the conference.

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