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Changed anti-corruption law tightens rules for prosecuting officials, penalises bribe givers

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Changed anti-corruption law tightens rules for prosecuting officials, penalises bribe givers

The amended anti-graft law passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday provides for punishment to bribe takers as well as bribe givers and extends the requirement of prior sanction for prosecution to former public officials as well.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has already been passed by Rajya Sabha last week.

The Bill provides for imprisonment from three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking bribes. Bribe givers have also been included in the legislation for the first time and they can be punished with imprisonment up to seven years, fine, or both.

The Bill provides for jail terms of three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking or giving bribes to public officials.

The Bill also extends the ambit of public servants who will be protected by the provision of a prior government sanction for prosecution. There is also a provision now to get prior permission for starting an investigation and that has prompted many to say that the law has been “diluted” from its original draft.

In a departure from the earlier anti-corruption law, the current law makes a distinction between “collusive bribe givers” and those who are “coerced.”

In such cases, the Bill seeks to protect those who report the matter within seven days. However, taking note of the concerns raised by many members that the seven-day window was too short, the minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh said during his reply that the government would look at ways to “extend this period while framing the rules.”

In his reply, the minister said the Bill provides safeguards to officers who perform their duties with honesty. “We have brought amendments so that honest performing officer does not get intimidated or his initiatives get killed,” he said.

Singh said the “historic legislation” has provisions to ensure speedy trial in corruption cases.

“For any corruption case, we will bring guidelines for decision to be ordinarily given in two years,” he said. The minister said the government aimed at taking strict measures against corruption while also ensuring good work atmosphere.

Referring to delay in appointment of Lokpal, he said the blame lay with Congress as it did not get enough seats for its leader to be recognised as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The Leader of Opposition is a member of Lokpal selection panel. Singh said the government had sought to include the leader of the largest opposition party in the meetings concerning appointment of Lokpal.

At a time when many former and current bankers are under the scrutiny of investigative agencies for their decisions to grant loans that have since turned into NPAs, the amended law seeks to make a distinction between action and intention.

Public servants cannot be booked under the act unless they have accumulated assets disproportionate to their income or have misappropriated assets entrusted to them.

The move, minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh said, is aimed at protecting “decisions that have gone bad” and penalise only corrupt practices.

Many members who took part in the debate stressed on the need for electoral reforms to curb corruption.

Some opposition members accused the government of “diluting” the anti-corruption act through the amendments and also cautioned the government over the provision to punish the bribe giver.

Shiv Sena member Arvind Ganpat Sawant targeted the Modi government over demonetisation and asked if its stated objectives had been achieved. Citing some other decisions related to the government, he said “it is easy to talk about corruption and difficult to walk the talk”.

He alleged that the “BJP used investigating agencies like Enforcement Directorate (ED) to pressure political rivals and make them join their party.”

He also asked if expenses of a party meeting addressed by the prime minister or a chief minister are borne by the exchequer or the political party concerned.

“Election is den of corruption, school admission is den of corruption,” he said.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, while supporting the Bill, said despite the government’s claim of corruption-free governance, there had been many such allegations, including the multi-core Rafale deal, bank frauds by Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya. “They talk about zero tolerance against corruption… but the reality is diametrically opposite. There is maximum corruption, minimum prevention,” said Mr. Chowdhury. He questioned the delay in appointing a Lokpal.

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Tejashwi Yadav releases RJD’s manifesto, promises airports in 5 Bihar cities

Tejashwi Yadav said his party is making 24 promises to the people of the nation and Bihar.

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Former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav unveiled the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lok Sabha election manifesto on Saturday morning, pledging the construction of five new airports in the state. Along with releasing Parivartan Patra, the political heir and son of RJD founder Lalu Yadav pledged Rs1 lakh annually to sisters from low-income families on Raksha Bandhan.

In the presence of senior RJD leaders, Tejashwi Yadav unveiled the document and said that his party had committed 24 commitments to both the national and Bihar citizen.

He said, they have released Parivartan Patra available. Twenty-four jan vachan (public promises) have been brought up for 2024. These 24 jan vachan are our promises, which we will keep, the speaker said.

Tejashwi Yadav said that his party will see to it that five new airports are built in Bihar to improve connectivity, should the INDIA bloc secure a majority at the Centre.

For better connectivity in Bihar, they are going to build 5 new airports in the state, in Purnea, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gopalganj and Raxaul, he said. Yadav also pledged to give Bihar special status. They will implement OPS (Old Pension Scheme) and we will provide special status to Bihar, he said. The former deputy CM promised to eradicate unemployment in the nation.

People will begin to be released from unemployment on August 15th. The process of providing jobs will begin on August 15th, if their government is elected, he stated.

Every year on Raksha Bandhan, they will provide their sisters who live in poor families with Rs 1 lakh. Gas cylinders would be available for Rs 500, he continued.

The RJD leader assured young people all over the nation of one crore jobs.

He further said, One crore youth across the country will receive government jobs if our INDIA alliance is elected to power. Our greatest opponent right now is unemployment, yet the BJP did not discuss this. Although they had pledged to provide 2 crore jobs, we carry out our word, he said.

On April 19, voting will start for the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections. On June 4, there will be a counting.


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi slams Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Yadav for eating mutton during holy month of Sawan, compares them to Mughals

PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a scathing attack on senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav for allegedly eating mutton during the holy month of Sawan last year. He claimed that they do not care about the sentiments of the majority of people of the country. PM Modi even compared them with the Mughals and accused them of trying to tease the people of the country.

PM Modi was referring to a viral video which was released in September last year in which senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav were seen cooking mutton together. PM Modi was speaking at an election rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur.

He said the opposition and INDI alliance do not care about the sentiments of the majority of the people of the India. He added Congress party enjoys playing with the sentiments of the people.

Talking about RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, PM Modi said a person who has been sentenced by the court and who is on bail – Rahul Gandhi visited the house of such a criminal and enjoys cooking mutton in the month of Sawan and a video was also made to tease the people of the country.  The Prime Minister claimed the intention of INDI alliance is to tease the people of the country and he even compared them with the Mughals.

PM Modi said the law does not stop anyone from eating anything but the intentions of these people are something else. He cited the example of the Mughals and said that when they attacked here, they were not satisfied until they demolished the temples. So just like Mughals, the Congress wants to tease the people of the country by showing the video in the month of Sawan.

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Akhilesh Yadav condemns deployment of cops in priests attire at Kashi temple

While the female policemen were wearing a ‘salwar kurta’, the male policemen were in a ‘dhoti-kurta’.

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Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has condemned the deployment of police officers dressed as priests at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. The Samajwadi Party (SP) chief demanded the suspension of the officers and wondered who ordered to deployment of cops in such attire.   

On the orders of Varanasi Police Commissioner Mohit Agarwal, the male and female policemen have been deployed in the temple in the priests’ attire. While the female policemen were wearing a ‘salwar kurta’, the male policemen were in a ‘dhoti-kurta’.

Yadav questioned the system in UP and asked according to which police manual is it correct for policemen to be dressed as priests. Those who give such orders should be suspended, he added. If tomorrow any ‘thag’ (fraudster) takes advantage of this and loots the innocent public, then what will the UP government and administration answer, he further asked. He called it Condemnable in a post on X.

Police Commissioner Agarwal had earlier told reporters that people who come from far away places to have obeisance have regard for the priests and they often get hurt if they are pushed forward by the policemen.

The duty in the temple is different from other places as police have to manage different types of crowds here. The crowd here is not for creating law and order problems. The police are here to ensure easy darshan to people and help and guide them, the police officer said.

He added the devotees get hurt if being pushed by policemen, if the same thing is done by priests they take it in a positive way. Following the no-touch policy, policemen are being deployed in priests’ attire.

The Samajwadi Party had earlier announced its candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav will be contesting from her existing seat in Mainpuri.

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