Illegal property of corrupt public servants to be confiscated
New Delhi: Property illegally acquired by a corrupt public servant will be confiscated and a time line has been set for securing sanction to prosecute serving and retired public servants under a bill approved on Wednesday.
Sweeping changes to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 have been approved by the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram briefing reporters about the Cabinet decisions said provisions have been incorporated to confiscate and forfeit property illegally acquired by a corrupt public servant.
A timeframe has been set for getting sanction of competent authority to prosecute serving and retired bureaucrats and reasons will have to be specified giving the nod or refusing it.
For the first time, a provision for liability of a commercial entity for failing to prevent bribery of a public servant has been incorporated.
The amended bill has also laid down a "clear definition" of different forms of bribery in line with international practices, Chidambaram said.
In what is being seen as a reprieve for retired bureaucrats, they would not have to face prosecution for acts of omission and commission while in office without the prior sanction of competent authority.
At present, the government's protection in the form of prosecution sanction does not extend to retired bureaucrats.
A need was felt to bring the amendment to extend this protection to retired officials so that it would be mandatory for the prosecuting agency to get prior sanction before prosecuting them for something which they might have done with good intention while in office.