Pratyush Sinha: The nature of corruption has changed. Earlier we used to see decentralised corruption, which means corruption at lower levels, corruption involving various public services at the lower level or the revenue administration. Today, corruption is known more in cases of major public procurements and dispensation of various services at a higher level. In some sectors of the economy, particularly infrastructure, there are more cases which are coming to light.
CNN-IBN: When you are investigating a senior public official, do you find resistance from the ministry officials?
Pratyush Sinha: Yes, there are delays. I would accept that whenever a high profile case is being investigated, there are delays in responding to various queries made by us. If a senior official is involved, there is definitely a hesitation on the part of various Government agencies to move quickly. So there are delays, so we have to make extra effort to get all information which is required for a thorough inquiry.
CNN-IBN: Powerful ministries like petroleum, civil aviation, power are now dealing directly with big corporate houses. This is a new trend in India and do you think it has something to do with the changing nature of corruption?
Pratyush Sinha: In theory, if there is liberalised economy and larger participation of private sector, corruption should go down. But as we are moving from a public sector based economy to a private sector driven economy, more cases of collusive corruption are coming to light.
CNN-IBN: What is happening to the Whistleblowers’ Bill? Can it curb corruption?
Pratyush Sinha: I understand that the Whistleblowers’ Act is now at an advanced stage of formulation in the Government and hopefully very soon this should be introduced in Parliament. It is very important to tackle corruption because the problem that we have faced is that many of the whistleblowers come to us as a last resort after they have contacted various other agencies. And then it becomes extremely difficult for us to maintain the secrecy of their identity. Ideally it should be the other way round.
CNN-IBN: Do you find that people use the Central Vigilance Commission as a tactic to block appointments in the public sector?
Pratyush Sinha: We have come across many such cases where people have tried to use the Central Vigilance Commission to block appointments in public sector organisations. But we are very, very careful. When someone is likely to be promoted or likely to retire, suddenly there is a spurt of complaints against him. I do agree that many people would like to use us to settle personal scores against Government officials and that must not be allowed.
ON RUCHIKA CASE:
Pratyush Sinha: Any abuse of personal authority must be prevented at any cost. This is a very bad example that somebody can do with the system and get away. Unfortunately, we have the rules and regulations, but they are not strictly enforced. Even today there are rules in place and if Government is sincere in enforcing them, then such events would not take place.