Thursday, December 03, 2009
IN A move to fast-track the process of investigation against the government officials allegedly to have received bribe from US companies, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has asked the concerned departments for expeditious action against officials belonging to the ministry of railways, ministry of defence, department of agriculture & cooperation, department of revenue and government of Maharashtra. In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, minister of state in the ministry of personnel, public grievances & pensions, Prithviraj Chavan named of the American companies believed to be involved in the graft case and also listed out what all has been done so far. Significantly, the Indian Ambassador in USA Meera Shankar first informed the government by writing a formal letter that several references regarding illegal payments to the officials in India were made in an US report on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-corruption Enforcement for the second half of 2008 and early part of 2009. In September, 2009, the CVC asked the CBI to look into each of these instances of corruption and furnish a report. The CBI's report is awaited. The companies which have allegedly made improper payments to some Indian officials, according to the minister's statement in Lok Sabha, are Pioneer Friction Ltd., part of Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (Webtec), York India (a subsidiary of York International Corporation), DE - Nocil Corp. Protection Ltd (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals Corporation), Pride Foramer (a part of Pride International Inc.) and an unindicated front comapny of Richard Morlok and Mario Covino. It was further informed that CBI was investigating a case of improper payment to a key official in Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Faridabad by De-Nocil, a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals. Also, the ministry of defence has constituted a Board of Officers for investigating the allegations pertaining to Indian Navy and the ministry of railways suspended business dealings with Pioneer Friction, Kolkata and Webtec, USA as a result of the allegation. Read: Who are ‘officials in the Indian Railway Board’ who took dollar bribe? (October 16, 2009) Senior officials from shipping ministry & Assam government in disproportionate assets case CBI has registered 88 cases against All India Services Officers including IAS, IPS, IFS (Forests) from 2006 till October 30, 2009. Significantly, maximum number of cases (65) were of 2006. During the said period, CBI has filed charge-sheets in 102 cases against All India Services Officers and registered 5 cases of disproportionate assets against All India Services Officers for which no charge-sheets have been filed. Out of these five disproportionate assets cases, three cases are against the officers of joint secretary level and above, working in Madras Fertilizers Ltd, Chennai; government of Assam and ministry of shipping. Defence activities beyond the purview of RTI Under the ministry of defence, only Defence Research and Development Organisation and Border Road Development Board are exempted from the purview of the Right to Information Act 2005. However, information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations are not exempted, defence minister AK Antony said in a written reply to Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.