India's institutions have become corrupted: Book
Entire sections of public life have become corrupt in India, says a book by a former officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
"As of today, the most important institutions, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, have been corrupted," B.V. Kumar says in the paperback edition of "The Darker Side of Black Money" (Konark).
"Corruption of these institutions has finally led to its institutionalisation," he says.
Kumar quotes then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as saying that growing corruption had bred contempt for the law.
According to Kumar, Indian efforts to check corruption had failed because the guilty did not get punished. Quoting statistics, the author says conviction rate in Indian courts is dismally low compared to other countries.
The 350-page book says that although the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did its best to complete probes, investigations were often slow and tardy. "The agency is under political leash," it said.
Kumar, who held many coveted posts in 35 years of service, identified lack of political will as one of the factors why India seems to be losing the war against corruption.
Corruption has become so all-pervasive that it has ceased to be an issue among political parties, he says.
Lack of respect for political ideology also means that politicians charged with corruption promptly join another party, where "they are not only welcomed but treated as heroes".
Kumar also blames the criminal justice system for the present mess.
He suggests that investigating agencies undertake 'sting' and undercover operations to unearth cases of systemic and chaotic corruption.
"It is also necessary to identity persons who are known to be corrupt and retire them from the civil service compulsorily.
"As far as politicians are concerned, nothing short of a social and political boycott may be necessary as most (of) them are thick skinned."
Condoning corruption, he warns, would amount to patronising organised crime, "and this will ultimately debilitate and destabilize governments, particularly in developing countries".
The book laments that many countries do not penalise corruption in the private sector.
"With growing liberalisation and privatisation, a stage has now come that corruption in the private sector should be criminalised," it says.
"Legislation should be introduced to punish corruption in the private sector, including corporate corruption. "This is particularly necessary because of the corrupt practices indulged by multinational companies.
"In fact the trade wars between multinationals result in competitive corruption. We should remember that private corruption usually involves fraud."
(Posted on 27-03-2013)