Govt plans to bring private sector under anti-graft law

In view of complaints of corruption in the private sector, the government is considering bringing corporates under a proposed anti-graft law.

Official sources said the chiefs of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate have been called in by a parliamentary standing committee next week to give their views in this regard.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, is examining the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Act, 2011, aimed at criminalising foreign bribery and offences thereof. The bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and awaiting nod from the upper house of Parliament.

“A letter has been sent to the CVC, CBI and ED seeking their response through an in-person presentation/submission on the matter. They have been asked to appear before the Committee on January 24,” a source said.

The bill prohibits accepting gratification by foreign public officials as also giving gratification to foreign public officials, while also proposing provisions for rendering assistance and cooperation among nations and making the offence punishable to a minimum of six months jail term to a maximum of seven years.

It also envisages provisions for attachment, seizure and confiscation of property in a contracting state or India and extradition of accused persons.

Foreign bribery is not covered under any domestic anti-corruption laws now.
Sources said the committee is likely to finalise its recommendations within a month, and then the bill will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for its approval.

They said the committee has already met with the representatives of industries bodies like the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India , Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others, to discuss various provisions under it. “Stakeholders are understood to have favoured legal net for corporates to ensure transparency and check corruption. The proposed amendments will be in conformity with the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Anti Bribery Convention of Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development ,” a source said.

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