Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dr. JP demands special courts to try VIPs in corruption cases

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded constitution of special courts to go into corruption cases against key persons in Governments both in the State and at the Center and award of deterrent punishment to the guilty.

Addressing a media conference on grant of bail to Mr. Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and President of YSR Congress, in the disproportionate assets case, Dr. JP said that no motives can be attributed to those concerned with the grant of bail in the absence of any evidence. There is no point in keeping an accused in jail without bail for an indefinite period unless there is the risk of the accused influencing witnesses.

“There comes a defining moment in a nation’s history when a policy like zero tolerance for corruption can be eloquently demonstrated by convicting a dozen prominent persons facing serious corruption charges and confiscating their properties will send the right signal to the country”.

Dr. JP said that competent special prosecutors should be appointed and judges should hear cases on a day to day basis to ensure swift justice. A law also should be enacted to facilitate attachment of properties of corrupt politicians and officials. The need of the hour is restoring people’s confidence in institutions.

Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta had drafted a Bill to eradicate corruption and circulated it among all people who matter at the national and State levels. He had suggested grant of autonomy and adequate resources to the CBI and ACBs, constitution of special courts, appointment of independent prosecutors, institution of a powerful Lokpal and Lokayuktas, swift and deterrent punishment of the guilty and confiscation of properties of the corrupt.

If ten big fish guilty of corruption in every State are jailed for a long term and all their properties confiscated, corruption can be mitigated to a large extent, said Dr. JP.

Corruption cases against VIPs like Sukhram. Madhu Koda, Mayavati, Jayalalitha, A. M. Raja and Lalu Prasad Yadav have not been disposed of for years. As a result, both politicians and officials accused of amassing hundreds or thousands of crores of rupees go about without fear of any retribution.

In contrast, the corrupt in countries like the US are awarded swift punishment. The Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich lost his job and property and went to jail for 14 years for simply seeking a donation by cheque for his campaign committee in return for nominating a person as a Senator in the place vacated by President Barrack Obama. A doctor couple of Indian origin Arun and Kiran Sharma, in the U. S. was jailed for 15 years and made to part with property worth 42 million US dollars for indulging in medical fraud. Top officials of Enron Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were jailed for 24 years and their auditing company, Arthur Anderson, liquidated for indulging in irregularities. In Britain, 120 MPs had to quit politics for submitting false travel bills. In South Korea, a former President Roh Moo Hyun, committed suicide out of a feeling of guilt and shame when reports of corruption involving him surfaced.

In India, however, Governments themselves shield the corrupt. The CBI has not been granted permission to investigate corruption cases involving many top politicians and officials. It has just less than 3000 personnel to investigate thousands of cases all over the country whereas the FBI in the US has 60000 personnel.

Dr. JP said that the cases against Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy as also others accused of corruption should be tried like the Nirbhaya case. (Four of the accused found guilty of indulging in rape and murder of Nirbhaya in New Delhi were sentenced to death within six months of the crime).

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