Caution: Delhi CM Kejriwal's advice to bribe and trap officials may land you in prison

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 19, 2015 10:41 IST

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will have to review his advice to people to pay bribes to corrupt officials and send him the recording.

They could soon land up in jail for up to seven years if they go by his advice.

The Modi government intends to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act that makes it a crime for people to pay bribes, even if they had been coerced to pay by corrupt public officials.

The only exception to this ‘jail for bribe giver’ provision is if he or she had first informed the anti-corruption agencies before paying up to let them to lay a trap for the corrupt.

There is no immunity for people who inform the anti-corruption agencies - or the chief minister as Kejriwal advises - after paying the bribe.

The amendment owes its origin to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption that required signatory countries to bring their domestic laws in tune with the international convention.

Asked if Kejriwal would change his strategy, Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan said he would need to study the provisions in detail.

Off the cuff, he said, people recording themselves paying bribes to catch the corrupt could be treated as a sting operation provided they could back this claim by irrefutable evidence.

Jay Prakash Narayan - who quit the IAS to work for improving governance standards before launching the Lok Satta Party - insisted penalising all bribe-givers was a flawed view that didn’t account for the ground realities.

Narayan said there is a difference between collusive corruption and extortionary corruption. In case of the latter, the bribe-giver is first a victim.“How can you treat a vendor or a beggar paying the cop to survive on the streets at par with a corrupt businessman colluding with powerful politicians to defraud the exchequer?” he asked.

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