The Central Vigilance Commission wants the government to purge the need of prior permission to investigate senior government officials. The commission also wants the government to give Central Bureau of Investigation all powers necessary to go after the corrupt.
The CVC also wants a Lok Pal set up to ensure that Central ministers who make money on the side do not go scot-free either.
These are some of the steps in the first draft of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the Central Vigilance Commission has made. It also recommended that the Prevention of Corruption Act be amended to explicitly add jail-term to private parties who pay public servants.
The draft strategy — the first policy document drawn up by any statutory body in the country — aims to address corruption in all its forms: right from the babus demanding money to push files to senior bureaucracy and ministers subverting the system.
Despite the stringency of the steps, corrupt babus need not lose much sleep over the move.
Government officials said the the draft, put up on its website for a public debate, went further in seeking changes than the government would be willing.
“The Administrative Reforms Commission had also recommended setting up a Lok Pal in UPA-I. But instead of implementing the suggestion, the Congress — that leads the coalition government — did not even promise a Lok Pal in its party manifesto,” a government official said.
A similar legislation to confiscate ‘benami’ property, passed by Parliament in 1988, has still not been implemented. Another proposal to amend the law to provide for confiscation of slush funds as soon as an official is charged with corruption was also shot down by a group of ministers.
It isn’t that the CVC did not anticipate the hurdles.
“Political parties should demonstrate political will to fight to fight corruption, by adopting and enforcing a code of ethics among members… Political will would also be demonstrated if the National Anti-corruption Strategy is adopted and implemented; and the institution of Lok Pal is created,” the draft strategy said.
The most important link in the chain needed to fight corruption is also its weakest, a vigilance official said, saying it suited everyone else too.