CVC to finalise draft anti-corruption strategy by Jan end

New Delhi: Concerned over large-scale corruption, the Central Vigilance Commission is likely to finalise its draft anti-graft strategy aimed at checking flow of blackmoney and benami properties, among others, by the month-end.

The CVC has also favoured blacklisting of private firms and punishment for private parties through suitable amendments in the existing laws.

The `draft national anti-corruption strategy` which was formulated in 2010 and was put up on its website for public comments, was awaiting administrative approvals within the commission that was hit by controversial appointment and ouster of its former chief P J Thomas and the Commonwealth Games probe, among other routine affairs.

"We have received a number of suggestions and concerns from the people. It will be given final shape within a months time and then it will be sent to the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and then to the Ministry of Law and Justice for necessary actions," a CVC official said on the condition of anonymity.

According to the official, the strategy will then be circulated to all government departments and law enforcement agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department, CBI, Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) and central police organisation.

The strategy recommends a set of actions to be taken by the government, political entities, judiciary, media, citizens, private sector and civil society organisations.

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 prohibits benami transactions and even provides for government acquisition of such property held.

"However, the rules to make the confiscation of property and other provisions effective have not been issued. Implementation of the Act needs to be made more effective," the draft strategy prepared by the commission said.

"A substantial portion of wealth created through corrupt means finds its way to bank accounts outside the sovereign jurisdiction of India. The steps being taken in this regard include amending the Income Tax Act, 1961, to enable the Central government to enter into agreements even with non-sovereign jurisdictions for exchange of information and other purposes.

"Steps have already been initiated for negotiations for entering into agreements for the exchange of information with other nations… these efforts need to be strengthened to eliminate opportunities for investment of wealth earned through corrupt activities," it said.

Besides, the policy seeks fast disposal of corruption-related cases by the special courts, anti-bribery hot lines, strengthening of norms for disclosure of source and amount of funding received by political parties and a separate vigilance apparatus to fight large-scale corruption in panchayati raj institutions.

The commission has favoured a system of blacklisting, debarring or shaming of companies found involved in corruption. It also seeks to bring changes in the Prevention of Corruption Act to punish corrupt acts of private parties.

"To ensure that the strategy does not remain a mere document, it is envisaged to ensure its effective implementation by developing suitable parameters for evaluating and monitoring the progress of its implementation.

The CVC would review the progress on an annual basis and submit a report to Parliament," the commission said in the draft policy document.