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Most companies 'maintain' MPs to influence govt

Last updated on: April 19, 2011 19:30 IST

Most companies 'maintain' MPs to influence govt

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A former bureaucrat has said that most business houses "maintain" MPs to influence government policies or decision making in their favour.

"Some of the large industrial houses also fund politicians who are in the Opposition as a hedge to ensure that any decision that may be given in their favour is not opposed by them. They also treat such funding as a long term investment," writes former Economic Intelligence Bureau director general B V Kumar in his new book, 'The Darker Side of Black Money'.

According to Kumar, who joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1958 and held various coveted posts in his 35 years of service, politicians who are exposed or charged for corruption change parties and join the Opposition.

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Image: Protestors against corruption shouts slogans.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters.
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"Surprisingly, they are not only welcomed but are also treated as heroes. This removes the sting from the crusade originally launched," the book by Konark Publishers says.

Kumar was also the director general of Revenue Intelligence and Narcotics Control Bureau and was responsible for busting many syndicates operating trans-nationally, smuggling contraband, drugs and organized economic crime.

He writes that most of the political parties show interest in exposing corruption when they are in the Opposition. "Once they succeed either in pulling down the government or bringing about a change in the government, they lose interest.

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Image: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) person dressed as Lord Yamaraj to protest against corruption.
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters.
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This is because corruption has become all pervasive and substantial amounts have been received at some stage or the other, by politicians of all hues either for themselves or for their party."

Kumar says that corruption has ceased to be an issue among the political parties and most of them have not submitted their accounts to the Election Commission in spite of Supreme Court directions.

In his foreword, former NSA and IB chief M K Narayanan writes, "The publication of 'The Dark Side of Black Money' could not have been better timed. The seamier side of the illegal flow of funds from India to tax havens in different parts of the world, causing loss to not only the country's exchequer, but giving rise to possibilities of misuse of such funds by crime syndicates, terrorist outfits, and other anti-establishment and anti-national forces has lately come in for unprecedented public scrutiny...

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Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare hold placards as they protest against corruption.
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters.
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"The movement of 'hot money' across national borders is not easy to check in today's interconnected world. Financial outflows and inflows are often viewed as indices of the dynamism prevailing in a nation's economic makeup. Macro and micro-management of financial flows in such a scenario becomes exceedingly complicated. It is often difficult to separate legal from illegal transactions."

In the preface, Kumar writes, "When former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer gave WikiLeaks founder and owner Julian Assange information about bank accounts of more than 2,000 prominent individuals, potentially exposing tax evasion, there were heated debates in the electronic and print media as to who would be the possible Indians, whose names may figure in the said list.

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Image: A supporter of Anna Hazare holds a placard in front of a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters.
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"The Opposition parties took immediate advantage of the explosive news to blame the UPA government for not initiating any action to bring pressure on the Swiss authorities to part with the information and, if possible, to get the amounts so deposited for being repatriated to India."

According to Kumar, this news provided enough ammunition to the Opposition parties to discredit the government for its inaction and failure, among others, in this area.

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Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare hold placards in a protest against corruption.
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"Politicians, as well as prominent businessmen, in India are worried in case their names figure in the dreaded list and the possible consequences," he writes.

In his book, Kumar makes an effort to "highlight the problem faced not only by India but by many emerging economies and developing countries where former rulers, dictators, tyrants, including corrupt politicians, terrorist organisations, unscrupulous businessmen, organised crime and drug mafias have stashed their wealth in not only Swiss banks but other tax havens". Kumar has authored "The Preventive Detention Laws of India" and co-authored "The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Laws of India".


Image: A demonstrator wears a sticker on his forehead during a protest rally against corruption.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters.
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