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Plan to fast-track graft cases
Published on 3 Jan. 2011 12:36 AM IST
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Against the backdrop of an unrelenting Opposition targeting it over the issue of various scams, the government seems to have decided to set up an anti-corruption mechanism to fast-track corruption cases against public servants, including politicians.
The modalities are being worked out at the highest levels of policy making and it may involve bringing in a special ordinance in the Budget Session of Parliament, NDTV reported on its website on Sunday.
Sources said the issue was discussed at a meeting of the Congress Core Group in New Delhi in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were present.
The meeting discussed a note prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office in the light of Gandhi’s five-point action plan to fight corruption suggested in her address at the recently held Congress Plenary. Sources say the new mechanism will be in line with what Gandhi had suggested:
* Fast-tracking corruption cases against public servants, including politicians
* Legal steps to ensure transparency in procurement and contracts
* Suspension of discretionary powers of CMs and ministers
* Open and competitive system for exploiting natural resources
* Protection of whistle blowers
The government’s attempt to demonstrate its seriousness to tackle corruption is perhaps a move to blunt the Opposition’s attack. It is seen as an answer to the Opposition’s move to checkmate the government by stepping up its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe. At meeting on Saturday evening, the Opposition reportedly decided that it will keep pressing for the JPC in the next Parliament session as well. The mechanism, the sources said, may be different from that of the Central Vigilance Commission which deals with only corruption by officials. There was no official word on whether the ordinance could be the precursor to the long-pending Lok Pal Bill and whether the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would be covered by it.
In his New Year message to the nation, Prime Minister had referred to Gandhi’s five-point action plan and said the government would pay careful attention to the agenda set out by her. Gandhi, in her valedictory address, had said they would take the issue of corruption head on and demonstrate through actions and not words that they meant what they say. “I had made specific suggestions and the Prime Minister has assured us that they will be taken forward,” she had said.
At the plenary, Rahul Gandhi had also demanded severe punishment for those guilty of corruption.
In his message on Friday, the Prime Minister had made a pitch for making a “new beginning” in the year ahead.
“We will redouble our efforts to deal effectively and credibly with the challenges of inflation, cleansing our governing processes, national security and making our delivery system work for the aam aadmi”, he had said.

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