Thursday, April 24, 2014

Titanium scandal is an opportunity to tighten anti corruption laws: Dr. JP

Loksatta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today suggested that the unfolding titanium mining scam in Andhra Pradesh be viewed as an opportunity to usher in laws to ensure sure and swift punishment to the corrupt.

It may be recalled that the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked the State Crime Investigation Department to “provisionally arrest” Mr. K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, MP and Adviser to Late Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in connection with the mining license scam.

KVP has been named along with five others by a US grand jury for their suspected roles in an $18.5 million scheme to bribe Indian officials for a titanium mining contract in Andhra Pradesh.

Dr. JP said that corruption can be mitigated to a large extent if special courts are constituted to go into allegations against politicians and officials and swift and deterrent punishment, including confiscation of the entire property of the corrupt is awarded. The corrupt should be made to face the prospect of losing power, prestige, property and a long jail term. If such punishments are meted out to people in ten cases in every state per year, corruption could be curbed.

Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that under a law enacted in the US in 1977, American companies cannot give bribes to further their business in other countries. Lockheed officials who bribed Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka were jailed under the law. The Japanese Prime Minister had to quit. Celebrated CEO Rajat Gupta of Indian origin was sentenced to a jail term and hefty fine for abetting insider trading in shares. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to a 14-year jail term for seeking election campaign funds for nominating a senator. An Indian doctor couple had to part with all properties and undergo a jail term for defrauding the American healthcare system.

Dr. JP also demanded that the Union Government bring back nearly $500 billion illegally stashed abroad by Indians on a war footing and prevent stashing of nearly $80 billion a year. Such a measure will come in handy to tackle current account deficit problems and funding the sorely needed infrastructure in the country.

Dr. JP recalled that he had submitted a Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2009 itself to the then Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu. They had been trading allegations of corruption against each other in the Assembly. Once he took the initiative, the two sparring parties entered into an unwritten truce and kept quiet subsequently. It is time the parties stopped enacting such dramas, Dr. JP said.

Dr. JP called for allotment of scarce natural resources like spectrum, iron ore and coal mines on transparent, competitive bidding to ward off corruption. The Supreme Court cancelled the illegally awarded 122 2-G spectrum licenses on a petition filed by the Loksatta and helped the Government raise more than Rs.50000 crore in re-auction of a part of spectrum.

Dr. JP also underlined the need for replacing the first-past-the post electoral system by proportional representation to curb corruption. How can the political system remain clean if candidates are ready to cough up Rs.50 crore to get the party ticket and spend Rs.100 crore to get elected. When politics thus becomes business, corruption is inevitable.

Dr. JP said that voters in Malkajgiri from where he is contesting for the Lok Sabha are fed up with the business of politics and are coming forward in larger numbers day by day to support him. He has no doubt that dharma will triumph over money in Malkajgiri.

Dr. JP conveyed his condolences to the family of Mrs. Sobha Nagireddy, MLA, who died in a tragic road accident. Transcending party differences, she maintained cordial relations with everyone, he recalled.

Loksatta Party leaders Bandaru Ramamohan Rao, V. Vijayender Reddy, Panduranga Rao and Mohd. Ghouse took part in the media conference.

No comments:

Post a Comment