Errors of judgement different from criminal acts: PM
Maintaining that economic growth implies greater opportunity for corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told CBI it was important that errors of judgement were distinguished from criminal acts.
New Delhi: Maintaining that economic growth implies greater opportunity for corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told CBI it was important that errors of judgement were distinguished from criminal acts.
With his government`s image battered by a series of graft allegations including in the coal scam that has even sought to draw PMO into its vortex, he said some decisions which appear sensible at the time of being taken may turn out to be faulty later.
"Our administrative set up has to be so managed that the fear of the unknown must not lead to paralysis in decision making," he said inaugurating an international conference organised by CBI on its Golden Jubilee celebrations.
In the public debate on corruption in India, Singh said, it is sometimes forgotten that economic growth also implies greater opportunity for corruption.
"It is important that we look at the issue of corruption in the correct perspective. While we must maintain utmost vigilance in preventing corruption and do our utmost in ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in public life, it is also important to ensure that the work of nation building goes on at a reasonably fast pace," he said.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, in his speech, however, said while there is a need for fast economic growth necessitating quick decisions on exploitation of natural resources, the challenge for policy makers is to do in a manner that there is no scope for impropriety.
Singh said public debate on corruption also needs to concentrate a little more on what it would take to make progress even faster.
"It also needs to concentrate more on the achievements that we can legitimately be proud of. We can`t be all the time just running down institutions of governance because there have been some cases of wrong doing," he said.
Singh said decision-making in a world of uncertainty "is a highly risky operation".
"While actions that prima facie show malafide intent or pecuniary gain should certainly be questioned, pronouncing decisions taken with no ill-intention within the prevailing policy as criminal misconduct would certainly be flawed and excessive," the Prime Minister said.
Singh`s comment come in the backdrop of an FIR registered by CBI against former Coal Secretary P C Parakh accusing him of criminal misconduct for allegedly reversing his decision on the allocation of Talabira coal block to Hindalco.
"Policy-making is a multi-layered and complex process in the government, and will increasingly become more so, and therefore I don`t think it would be to appropriate for a police agency to sit in judgement over policy formulation, without any evidence of malafide," he said.
The Prime Minister said lines of confidence must be clearly drawn between investigating agencies on the one hand and honest executive functionaries on the other so that public servants may not be paralysed in taking effective decisions based on their own sound judgement and on the apprehension of an ill-informed inquiry or investigation.
On the debate over autonomy of CBI, Singh made it clear that investigation agencies are a part of the Executive and must function under its administrative supervision.
"Autonomy in investigation is already guaranteed. If anything more needs to be done to further insulate the investigative process from external interference, we must not hesitate to do it," he said.