Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the menace of corruption can be tackled both at the national and state levels, only if a proper framework is put in place
Addressing a news conference here on Friday evening after meeting chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states, Gandhi said: If all of us are serious about tackling corruption, we need a proper framework to tackle it, both at the national and state levels.
Emphatically stating that it was only the Congress Party that has been serious about tackling corruption, and is keen about ensuring the passage of several anti-corruption bills in Parliament, Gandhi said: "Except for one party, (read Congress Party), nobody else is or seems to be showing the way forward. There are so many pending bills in Parliament related to fighting corruption, that need to be passed. Let us all get together and agree to create a framework. But no, there is complete silence from the other (read opposition) side."
He said that Friday’s meeting had focussed mainly on two issues – (1) Corruption and (2) Price rise of essential commodities – and how to tackle them
He said that all the participants had agreed to set themselves a deadline of passing Lokpal Bills and appointing Lokayuktas in their states by February next year
The price rise issue, he said, focussed mainly on how bring the rates of vegetables and fruits down
When asked a question about the Maharashtra Government’s decision not to accept the report on the Adarsh Housing Society scam, Gandhi said that it was his personal opinion that the ruling on the report needed to be revisited, and was all for action to be taken against those indicted
“There is no question of protecting anyone or anybody in connection with the Adarsh Housing Society scam, “ Gandhi said
The Adarsh Housing Society is a cooperative society in Mumbai. The origins of the scam go back to February 2002 when a request was made to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to allot land in the heart of Mumbai for the construction of a housing complex for "the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defence Services"
Over a period of ten years, top politicians, bureaucrats and military officers proceeded to bend several rules and perpetrate various acts of omission and commission in order to have the building constructed and then get themselves allotted flats on this premier property at artificially lowered prices
As the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the President of India in 2011 put it, "The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land- a public property- for personal benefit.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are in the process of investigating allegations that three former chief ministers, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan of the state of Maharashtra were also involved in the scam
The Adarsh society high-rise was constructed in the Colaba locality of Mumbai, which is considered a sensitive coastal area by the Indian Defence forces and houses various Indian Defense establishments
The society is also alleged to have violated the Indian environment ministry rules
Several inquiries have been ordered by the army and the Government to probe into the irregularities
Gandhi was speaking after deleiberations with chief ministers of 12 Congress-ruled states
The meeting was held at 15-Rakabganj Road, also known as Congress War Room
According to reports, the meeting discussed future course of action in the wake of the passage of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in Parliament
Congress has lost power in Delhi and Rajasthan in recent assembly elections
It is in power in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala and Meghalaya.