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'If you can't control corruption, legalise it'

india Updated: Aug 18, 2014 21:39 IST
Rai Atul Krishna

A lawmaker in Bihar has proposed the enactment of a new law to legalise corruption in the state.

"The fair thing to do in the prevailing situation is to legislate and adopt a new law by the name of Right to Bribe, on the lines of RTI and right to service (RTS)", said Rajiv Ranjan, a senior MLA from the ruling JD(U).

Ranjan said he had been driven to make this extreme and unusual demand out of frustration and anger he felt owing to the Bihar government's inability to control corruption.

"If you can't rein in corruption, you should legalise it", argued Ranjan, the ruling party MLA from Islampur assembly constituency in Nalanda, the native district of former chief minister Nitish Kumar.

"I will move a private members bill for a law to lend legal sanctity to the all pervading practice of taking bribe, during the next session of the Bihar legislature", he told HT Monday.

Ranjan's 'outburst' embarrassed the Jitan Ram Manji government in the state sufficiently for it to vow to take suitable disciplinary action against the MLA at the earliest.

"Severe disciplinary action will be taken against the Islampur MLA who has crossed the limit of our tolerance by his call on corruption", said LD (U) chief whip and Bihar parliamentary affairs minister Sharvan Kumar.

Kumar, who is MLA from Islampur's neighbouring Nalanda assembly constituency, said Ranjan was in the habit of embarrassing the party and government and then rushing to the JD (U) leadership to apologise.

"But this time it won't work", the JD (U) chief whip said.

For his part, Ranjan said the threat of action would not deter him from raising his voice against corruption. "I am ready for any sacrifice", he declared.

Ranjan, who headed electricity boards in Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh for eight years before being elected MLA in 2010, identified himself as a regular contributor to the party fund.

He said the spread of corruption in Bihar was not typical to the Jitan Ram Manjhi regime, which took office last May after Nitish resigned as CM, owning moral responsibility for the JD (U)'s Lok Sabha poll defeat.

"It has been spreading since NDA-2 was voted to office in 2010 and has acquired edge over the past one years or so", Ranjan said.

He claimed that to get each contract vendors had to pay anything between 12% and 20% of the work value as bribe.

"Though the state government professes zero tolerance of corruption, a recent Indian corruption survey report named Bihar as the most corrupt state", he claimed.

The JD (U) could win just two out of 40 LS seats in Bihar, down from its tally of 20 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. It has joined forces with Lalu Prasad led RJD and the Congress, to take on a resurgent BJP.