Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday called for amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act -- a graft law that the Minister described as anarchic and one of the most badly drafted pieces of legislations. His statement came weeks after the Pune police on June 21 arrested the entire top management of the state-run Bank of Maharashtra for a loan of Rs 94.5 crore to the scam-tainted developer DSK Group allegedly in violation of its lending rules.
Coming down heavily on the Pune Police for the arrest, the Minister said that nobody should overlook the federal structure of the nation. He said: "In investigating a crime or what could possibly be an unfair decision, we cannot overlook the federal structure of the nation. Our federalism has jurisdiction vested in the Central government. It has jurisdiction vested in the state governments. Law and order and investigation are the state subjects."
"To maintain the federal balance, you require an element of statesmanship which can keep that federal balance in view. Therefore, there can be situations including the one that I am obliquely indicating at where the threat to federalism comes from a state, not from the Centre," Jaitley said.
The Minister seemed upset with the state police's action against the Central government's employees. He said: "I have found a new tendency that an agency or institution or banks under the Central government is being investigated by a state police. If Central agencies have to investigate a state official, they need the consent of the state. Even the CBI cannot investigate a crime in a state without consent of the state."
Jaitley further said that if the country wants an effective decision making process, it needs to put this entire relationship between investigation, who to investigate, when to investigate, what constitutes a crime, really in its place. "Therefore, for all political parties for the days, years and generations to come, it is extremely important that we amend that law, with the suggested amendments of the standing committee, and bring that anarchic and obsolete piece of legislation in tune with the modern times of decision-making process," the Minister said.
Last month, the Pune police arrested six persons including Bank of Maharashtra CEO and MD Ravindra Marathe and former CMD Sushil Muhnot in connection with the Rs 2000 crore DS Kulkarni fraud case. This action shocked the banking fraternity which called an emergency meeting and condemned the police action.
(With inputs from PTI)