States study bill on private sector graft

The Centre wants to make corruption in private sector a penal offence, with up to seven years imprisonment for offenders.

Draft Indian Penal Code (Amendments) Bill, 2011, circulated among states and union territories for comments, covers corruption by an individual, firm, society, trust, association, company, whether incorporated or not, which undertakes any economic or financial or commercial activity..

According to the draft law, whoever in the course of economic, financial or commercial activity promises, offers or gives, directly or indirectly, gratification, in any capacity, for a private sector entity, for the person himself or for another person, shall be punishable. Besides, if somebody “solicits or accepts, directly or indirectly, gratification amounting to undue advantage from any person, who directs or works, in any capacity, for a private sector entity”, that person shall also be punished with imprisonment and fine, or both, it says.

Once amendments become law, local police, or any other appropriate agency, would be able to register a case and initiate a probe against an individual working in the private sector.

Kerala has sought enhanced punishment for habitual offenders and Tamil Nadu making foreign trips and gifts in any form as offences. While more than a dozen states have accepted the bill, some have yet to respond.

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