“To meet the requirements of the UN Conventions against corruption, we have introduced a Bill in Parliament to make bribery of foreign public officials an offence. We are considering changes in our laws to criminalize private sector bribery,” prime minister Manmohan Singh said
New Delhi: With the alleged involvement of big corporates in a spate of scams apparently weighing on his mind, prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said government is considering changes in the laws to make private sector bribery a criminal offence, reports PTI.
Speaking at the Biennial Conference of India’s premier agency, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and state anti-corruption bureaux, the prime minister said India has ratified UN Conventions against corruption and to meet its requirements a slew of measures which include amendments in laws pertaining to anti-graft measures.
“To meet the requirements of the Convention, we have introduced a Bill in Parliament to make bribery of foreign public officials an offence. We are considering changes in our laws to criminalize private sector bribery,” he said.
But the prime minister did not provide any details of how private sector bribery will be dealt with.
He said the government is working on ways and means to minimize discretionary powers of public authorities and the issue of a public procurement law to minimize irregularities in the award of government contracts worth thousands of crores of rupees every year.
The prime minister however said, “Whatever we might do to minimise the opportunities for corruption, the sad reality is that we cannot build a totally fool-proof system. There will always be some instances of corrupt practices in the work of public authorities.”
He urged the CBI that people indulging in corruption must realise that that they cannot possibly get away from the law and would sooner rather than later suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing.
“There is a need for speedy and thorough investigation into allegations of such wrong doings, followed by expeditious prosecution to bring the guilty to book. This would act as a powerful deterrent against corruption,” he said.
The prime minister said expectations from the CBI are well known but need repetition because this because sometimes in the routine of daily work the larger scheme of things are forgotten.
“We expect from the CBI the highest standards of honesty and professionalism and a total disregard of any extraneous considerations, particularly political pressure, in its work... And professionalism demands facelessness, in the best traditions of our civil services,” he said.
He cautioned ‘premature publicity’ given to cases can harm the cause of justice.
“We must also not forget the distinction between a deliberate attempt at wrongdoing and honest mistakes, sometimes inevitable in decision-making processes under conditions of uncertainty,” the prime minister said.
On the CBI director’s concerns of pending sanctions of prosecution and delay in trials, prime minister Manmohan Singh said government has decided that if an authority refuses to grant permission for investigation or sanction for prosecution, the reasons for such denial would have to be informed to the next higher authority.
“Delay in the trial of cases remains an area of serious public concern. To reduce pendency of CBI cases under trial, we have taken a decision to set up a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to review cases pending trial, which are more than ten years old, and suggest ways and means for their speedy disposal,” he said.
The Supreme Court today refused to give interim relief to Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju and his brother B Rama Raju saying they have delayed in approaching it. The apex court, however, agreed to give an early hearing to their pleas and issued notice to CBI for 3rd November, after the Diwali break
New Delhi: Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju and his brother B Rama Raju, arrested in connection with the multi-crore accounting fraud involving the IT firm, will have to remain in jail during Diwali as the Supreme Court today refused to give them interim relief saying they have delayed in approaching it, reports PTI.
The apex court, however, agreed to give an early hearing to their pleas and issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for 3rd November, after the Diwali break.
“Why you delayed in filing the petition,” the bench asked when senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for the brothers, pleaded for interim relief saying five other accused in the case have recently been granted bail by the apex court.
Apart from the two brothers, former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas also moved court seeking bail.
The apex court had on 12th October granted bail to five other accused in the case.
The former Satyam employees, who were granted bail, are its former internal chief auditor VS Prabhakar Gupta besides executives G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam.
The fifth accused, who got the bail, is the former auditor of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Subramani Gopalakrishnan.
The five had approached the apex court challenging the 30th August order of Andhra Pradesh High Court which had rejected their bail pleas.
Of the total 10 accused in the case, Satyam’s founder B Ramalinga Raju's younger brother B Suryanarayana Raju and former PWC auditor T Srinivas had already been granted bail by different courts earlier.
For his alleged role in the accounting fraud, Satyam Computer’s founder and its former chairman Ramalinga Raju had been arrested first in January 2009 but his bail was cancelled in October last year by the Supreme Court.
While cancelling his bail, the apex court had stipulated that the accused would file another bail application only after 31 July 2011, if the trial in the case is not completed in the local court.
Following cancellation of his bail on the CBI’s plea, Mr Raju had surrendered on 10th November last year before a Hyderabad court adjudicating the country’s biggest corporate fraud, allegedly to the tune of Rs14,000 crore.
IRDA’s directive is a good option for the insured, but why was it omitted in the new ULIP guidelines in the first place? Will IRDA bring back ‘cover continuance’ too? The industry gains—ULIP revival benefits a life insurance company due to capped surrender charges coupled with the fund management charge of 0.5% on a discontinued fund
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has mandated insurers to allow policyholders to revive ULIPs (unit-linked insurance plans) within two years of the last premium paid, but not after the lock-in period of 5 years has expired. It is a good move for both the insurance company and the insured, but the same was offered in ULIPs sold prior to the regulatory changes of 1 September 2010. But the new regulations do have something in store for both the insurer and the insured.
Insurance companies will benefit; IRDA has allowed them to charge 0.5% fund-management charge on the discontinued fund. This in effect negates the benefit offered to the customer (the increase from 3.5% to 4% return) on the discontinued fund.
The request to allow revival of ULIPs post 1 September 2010—up to two years of discontinuation—was made by insurance companies. They had little to gain with discontinued policies, as the surrender charges were capped to a small sum under the new IRDA regulations. Insurance companies are finding it hard to sell new ULIPs, due to drastic reduction in the first-year commission for agents. The only way to make up for lost commission for agents is to improve persistency ratio by chasing customers for renewal premiums.
Under the old ULIP regime, surrender charges were unreasonable and hence insurance companies (in many cases) did not bother if a customer renewed a policy or not. The revival period of two years in old ULIPs is mentioned in the fine print in a few product brochures. If you did not know about this clause, there may still be time to revive your policy.
Girish Malik, vice-president-life insurance, Nandi Insurance Broking told Moneylife, “Under the new ULIP regulations, surrender charges are capped and hence the extended period of two years for revival (in old ULIPs) may have been dropped in the new IRDA regulations. The changes will allow customers of ULIPs sold after 1 September 2010 to revive the policy if they have missed out on the opportunity to renew the policy for some reason.”
Insurers will have to refund the discontinuance charges on revival of the policy. The insurer may attach conditions or raise the premium. It may involve medical tests in some cases—considering the age factor, size of cover and the gap in premium payment. In short, the revival will happen on the terms laid down by the insurance company.
‘Cover continuance’ was another feature in old ULIPs, which got dropped in new ULIPs. Can IRDA allow this feature for new ULIP too? Under this clause, if one is not able to pay premiums anytime after the first three years (the lock-in period), the policy would not lapse and the life cover continues. The funds invested in equity/debt will continue to remain invested in the policy. The life cover sustains because of the mortality charges that continue to be deducted from your fund value along with other charges as per the policy contract. It ensures that the sum assured is payable in the event of the policyholder’s demise, even if all the premiums have not been paid.
According to Arvind Laddha, chief executive officer, Vantage Insurance Brokers and Risk Advisors, “Both the insured and insurer will benefit from the IRDA changes to the ULIP guidelines. The revival of ULIPs up to a period of two years will help to restart any discontinued policies. The insurer benefits with increase in persistency ratio and 0.5% fund management charge on the discontinued fund.”