New Delhi: It is high time corruption in the private sector is criminalised if the war on corruption has to be effective, says a former head of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
"Unfortunately, many countries do not penalise corruption in the private sector," B.V. Kumar, who is a former Director General of DRI, says in his 392-page book "Underground Economy: An Insight into the World of Tax Havens and Money Laundering" (Konark Publishers).
"With growing liberalisation and privatisation, a stage has now come that corruption in the private sector should be criminalised. "Legislation should be introduced to punish corruption in the private sector, including corporate corruption," says Kumar, who was also the Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Economic Intelligence Bureau, the federal agency that protects India's economic security from smugglers and financial offenders. "This is particularly necessary because of the corrupt practices indulged by multinational companies. In fact, the trade wars between multinationals result in competitive corruption. We should remember that private corruption usually involves fraud."
Kumar underlined that a corrupt government and a clean private sector cannot co-exist -- and vice-versa. "In the government, we expect accountability, which is not just a regime of punishments, but a system of governance.
"Similarly, the private sector should have a code of corporate governance and a corporate philosophy of social commitment." He said that when a public servant accepts illegal gratification, he is charged with corruption and conduct unbecoming of a government servant.
But "when a businessman or a corporation indulges in corruption, it is termed as business acumen resulting in profit... A time has now come to evolve a proper definition of 'corruption' so that these distinctions are removed".