CVC for stricter laws to check 'benami' properties

The anti-corruption watchdog is also planning to strengthen rules to check investment of wealth earned through corrupt activities in other countries. The CVC has prepared a blueprint of 'National Anti-Corruption Strategy' to deal with many issues adding to corruption and ways to deal with it by formulating stringent and result-oriented policy.

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

"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.

"An effective anti-corruption strategy should aim at measures which make it difficult for the corrupt to spend or invest in ill-gotten wealth. Most of the wealth in India which is accumulated through corrupt means gets invested in benami immovable property, gold and jewellery, high value consumer goods and other conspicuous consumption," the Commission said in its draft.

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

The Commission is also in favour of devising strategies to check illegal money parked in foreign banks. "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 and renegotiation of the double tax avoidance treaty with Switzerland is in process. These efforts need to be strengthened to eliminate opportunities for investment of wealth earned through corrupt activities," it said.

Besides it 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.

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