PUNE, 3-9-1998: The
newly-appointed Chief Vigilance Commissioner, N Vittal, said today his
first and foremost task would be to supervise the functioning of the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in so far as it relates to
investigations under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Vittal, who was in the city to attend the
South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation meet, was selected for the
post by a committee comprising Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union
Home Minister L K Advani and leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
Sharad Pawar yesterday. He will assume charge tomorrow.
Vittal said his priorities would be to
``purge the poison of corruption'' from India, which has been ranked the
world's 9th most corrupt country by a German agency, Transparency
The entire perspective of looking at
corruption has to change, he said, ``The judicial in India thinks that a
man is not corrupt unless proved otherwise has created a cushion of safety
for corrupt persons to thrive and cock a snook at the law enforcing
agencies, by providing him enough loopholes to escape from the clutches of
law'', he said.
The other factors that breed corruption
include the scarcity of services or commodities, the lack of transparency
in various departments that issue tenders and work orders, and red-tapism
and delay in court cases which sometimes takes 20 years to give judgement.
Vittal said another reason for corruption
thriving was that the system of punishing the accused was laborious, ``For
example, during an inquiry in a government department, the inquiry officer
asks for loads and loads of documents. And by the time all the documents
arrive, the officer gets transferred and all the time is wasted'', he
Asked how he would counter political
pressures he might face during the anti-corruption drive, Vittal said, ``I
would not like to answer this question as I have still not taken over''.
A prolific writer, Vittal is a strong
proponent of liberalisation and a critic of the bureaucratic processes
that he feels have slowed down the pace of development in India.