Report No. 166
1.4. Inadequacy of the Existing Law and the Proposed Measures to Tackle the Evil of Corruption.-
It is true that the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 provides for confiscation on assets of public servant which are in excess of his known sources of income but such forfeiture can come about only after the public servant is convicted for the relevant offence [section 13(1)(e)] under the Act. There is also in vogue a pre-independence law i.e., Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance (38 of 1944) which provides for attachment of properties of a public servant who is accused of corruption. But, here again, the confiscation can come about only pursuant to and on the basis of conviction of corruption. Similar is the position under the Prevention of the Money Laundering Bill, 1998 introduced in the Parliament recently.
The Bill defines the expression "money-laundering" to mean owning, possessing or otherwise dealing in the "proceeds of the crime", and confiscation of proceeds of crime is possible only after a person is convicted of one or the other offence mentioned in the Schedule to the Bill. Part V of the Schedule mentions some of the offences created/recognised by the Prevention of Corruption Act, but quite significantly the offence of possession of disproportionate assets [dealt with under clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 131 is not one of the offences mentioned in the Schedule.
Perhaps, the said offence did not fit into the scheme of the Bill. Be that as it may, the fact remains that there is no law in force in this country providing for forfeiture/confiscation of the ill-gotten assets/properties of the holders of public office similar to SAFEMA. Merely sending the corrupt holders of public office to jail is no remedy; it is no solution. It doesn't really hurt them. Unless their ill-gotten assets are forfeited to the State, the canker of corruption to really tackled. Hence, the necessity of the proposed measure.