House Panel for Bring­ing Cos Un­der Anti-graft Law

Pun­ish­ment for com­pa­nies of­fer­ing bribes to pub­lic ser­vants rec­om­mended

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Raghav.Ohri @times­group.com

New Delhi: A par­lia­men­tary panel has favoured the in­clu­sion of com­pa­nies un­der the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act, which reg­u­lates mat­ters of cor­rupt prac­tices by pub­lic of­fi­cials. The panel, which ex­am­ined a bill to amend the act, has fi­nalised its re­port and will ta­ble it in Par­lia­ment next week. The bill has spe­cific pro­vi­sions to deal with the giv­ing of bribes to pub­lic ser­vants and the giv­ing of bribes by com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions. Highly placed of­fi­cials in the govern­ment told ET the panel is in favour of in­clud­ing com­pa­nies un­der the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act.

The re­port is one of three that are sched­uled to be tabled in the bud­get ses­sion, which re­sumes from April 25. The other two are from a joint par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ex­am­in­ing the In­sol­vency and Bankruptcy Code and from a panel look­ing into the En­emy Prop­erty (Amend­ment and Val­i­da­tion) Bill. The Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion (Amend­ment) Bill is aimed at bring­ing stricter an­ti­cor­rup­tion laws in In­dia. It pro­poses en­hanced pun­ish­ment for bribe givers and bribe tak­ers. At present, there is no law to pun­ish bribe givers. Gov­ern- ment sources told ET that the panel has rec­om­mended an­tib­ribery guide­lines for com­pa­nies and their em­ploy­ees while deal­ing with pub­lic ser­vants. Com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions can be held re­spon­si­ble if they or peo­ple act­ing on their be­half are found to have of­fered bribes to pub­lic ser­vants. The Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion is prob­ing a case in­volv­ing US re­tail gi­ant Wal-Mart Stores and con­fec­tionery ma­jor Mon­delez In­dia Ltd. against cer­tain govern­ment em­ploy­ees for al­leged cor­rup­tion.

The Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion (Amend­ment) Bill has pro­vi­sions for the at­tach­ment and for­fei­ture of prop­erty of pub­lic ser­vants ac­cused of cor­rup­tion. The Cabi­net had ap­proved amend­ments to the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act, 1988, last April. It also aims at speedy com­ple­tion of cor­rup­tion tri­als and ex­tend­ing pro­tec­tion from pros­e­cu­tion to pub­lic ser­vants who cease to hold of­fice fol­low­ing re­tire­ment and res­ig­na­tion.

The In­sol­vency and Bankruptcy Code was in­tro­duced in the Lok Sabha by Fi­nance Min­is­ter in De­cem­ber and the JPC’s re­port is ex­pected next week.

FM Arun Jait­ley FILE PHOTO

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