Will Dr Subramaniam Swamy be the face of the third alternative in next election?
While the Action Committee Against Corruption in India will take up issues of corruption and fight them legally, Dr Swamy is perhaps building up credible resource persons from the society to perform the role of political candidates for the next general elections
At a closed door meeting in Pune, Dr Subramaniam Swamy spoke freely about ACACI, the forum he has established last fortnight to fight corruption through existing laws under the Constitution. The meeting was organised by Prabodhan Manch and Professionals Against Corruption who have invited Dr Swamy for a public lecture in Pune on the 2G Scam. The following interview has been developed from the interaction held therein
Moneylife (ML): Tell us something about your new forum, Action Committee Against Corruption in India, which you have launched about a fortnight back?
Dr Subramaniam Swamy (DSS): There are three ways to fight corruption. One is the Anna Hazare movement, which is campaigning for revamping of laws and making them free of loopholes. The second is Swami Ramdev's mass mobilization to bring back the black money, stashed out of the country. I felt one more area had remained vacant, that of fighting corruption with existing laws under the Constitution, without mobilization of the public. Hence, I have floated the Forum, Action Committee Against Corruption in India or ACACI, which would use existing national and international laws to recover illegal funds deposited in foreign banks by Indian nationals. Also, corruption is not about politicians getting rich or contractors getting contracts. Corruption is multi-dimensional and can destroy our country.
ML: With corruption in India deep-rooted, how much will ACACI achieve?
DSS: I believe that if high level corruption ends, the lower level corruption would also end as it would have a filtered down effect. A good example is that of Hong Kong, which is the one of the cleanest country in terms of corruption after an Independent Public Prosecutor was established. People in India now want action - somebody should go to jail, somebody should lose his job. The 2G Scam is my biggest challenge as the high profile culprits should be ultimately convicted and not acquitted. They have tremendous money power to pay for a battery of best lawyers in the country. At the other end is the trial judge, the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) and myself, so you can imagine how tough it is. Many people have told me they (the accused) would all be acquitted and everything will be forgotten with the passage of time. I have created promise and I am determined to take it to the logical end.
Things can happen - the religious minded people call it `God.' No one ever thought that Emergency would be lifted. They said it will carry on for the rest of our lives but then it was lifted and Indira Gandhi lost her own election.
ML: How are you going to pursue the objective of ACACI?
DSS: The core committee would comprise leading personalities from various fields like CBI’s former joint director BR Lall, noted scholar MD Nalapat and former IAS officer V Sundaram amongst others. Like Pune, I will be travelling to various cities to form regional committees, which would take up local issues, which are of national importance. For example the Lavasa issue in Pune would be addressed by our regional committee members on how to go about it legally. The idea is to use constitutional means to get action. After having such committees across the country, we would be having a national conference for our further plan of action.
ML: Would your forum clash with the Anna Hazare movement as both aim at fighting corruption?
DSS: No, in fact, both Anna and Swami Ramdev's movements are complementary and I would love to come together on a common platform sometime. It would make the anti-corruption crusade in India more formidable. I also met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his Ashram outside Bengaluru and he too is in favour of a collective platform.
ML: How would you go about achieving this mission of recovering such illegal funds deposited abroad? Is it possible to get it from foreign governments?
DSS: After some of us discussed the issue with highly placed government officials abroad, we were advised that if we register a FIR in India, then they would be obliged to assist us. We would be shortly lodging a complaint with the CBI seeking an FIR to be registered against unknown persons possessing bank accounts abroad. If the CBI declines to register the FIR then we will move the Court.
ML: What proof do you have that such money is definitely stashed in foreign banks?
DSS: The French government has given 78 names who have accounts in the HSBC Bank. Earlier the German government has already released names of 18 Indians who have bank accounts in the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein. The German officials have assured us that they would help us if we come via the legal process.
ML: Would ACACI remain a citizen platform or will it ultimately get a political flavour?
DSS: It is important that good people should join politics. People should vote for good candidates and not bother about which party will win. I don't want to be too ambitious - I am looking at 25 candidates around the country in various cities. Let see what happens - it depends on the changing scenario.
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