Cornered on the issue of corruption by the Opposition, the judiciary and the media, the government is finally taking some action to introduce a new law in Parliament to tackle the menace.
A four-member group of ministers headed by home minister P Chidambaram has sent the Union Cabinet a draft law to check corruption and enable the government to ratify a United Nations convention India had signed five years ago.
The draft law is likely to have a specific provision to check corruption in the private sector — something the country currently lacks.Ratification of the UN convention will allow India to work with other countries in dealing with tax evasion, illegal investments and even black money.
“It will help the government in proceeding against acts of corruption irrespective of territorial jurisdiction,” said a senior official. It will also enable the government to seek help from countries, which have signed the convention, in investigation of cases, particularly those involving foreign bank accounts held by Indians.
The group of ministers includes human resources development and telecom minister Kapil Sibal, law minister M Veerappa Moily and minister of state for personnel V Narayansami.
“The group of ministers has finalised a draft stand-alone legislation to enable ratification of the UN convention and recommended changes in existing laws,” said a highly-placed source.
The group has asked for amendments in the existing laws to facilitate removal of bottlenecks in implementation of the convention, HT has learnt. It had recommended ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption last month. Major changes would include tweaking provisions of the Indian Penal Code and other laws that deal with specific offences such as money laundering. The intention is to update them in accordance with provisions of the international convention, the source said.
The move comes a month after the Supreme Court questioned the delay in ratification of the convention during a hearing in the ongoing case on black money stashed abroad.