New Delhi: Officials of multi-state cooperative societies like KRIBHCO and IFFCO are under the ambit of anti-corruption law and they can be probed on graft charges, the government said Thursday.
"Members, office bearers and employees of multi-state cooperatives like Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (KRIBHCO), Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) etc are covered under the ambit of Prevention of Corruption Act," Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
He said the government has recently clarified the legal position in this regard after obtaining the Attorney General's opinion.
The AG, on a reference made by the government, had opined that members, office bearers and employees of multi-state cooperative societies would fall within the purview of Section 2 (c) of the PC Act, and the CVC and CBI can launch probe against them.
The Section defines various categories of public servants who can be covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It is pertinent to mention that CVC is already looking into complaints of alleged corruption against the Managing Director and the Joint Managing Director of IFFCO for cornering a posh bungalow worth crores in the national capital among others.
Narayanasamy said the government was also considering to amend existing laws to punish bribe givers.
"A proposal for amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 including, among others, an amendment providing for punishment of bribe givers has been prepared," the minister said.
At present, a bribe giver is not covered under any domestic law. Besides, the changes in the PC Act, the government is in a process of amending the Indian Penal Code to cover private sector bribery.
The proposal provides, inter alia, punishment with imprisonment, which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and also fine, to any person who offers any financial or other advantage to a public servant as an inducement or reward to perform improperly a public function or activity, he said.