New Delhi: A "consensus" regarding powers of CBI in the Lokpal Bill has been reached through "hard bargain" with parliamentarians and civil society members, Union Minister V Narayanasamy on Friday said.

Speaking at the valedictory session of second Interpol global programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery at CBI headquarters here, he said main provisions which have been added in the Lokpal bill are to strengthen the CBI and the Central Vigilance Commission. "The kind of dilution that was going to take place, I have to give credit to your director and officers who took keen interest in seeing that the powers vested with them, the duties vested, the investigative powers vested with them should not be diluted and they should remain with them. They should report to the court only," he said.

The minister of state for personnel said as far as Lokpal is concerned, its role should be of superintendence and direction only and "not control".

"This is a major area of consensus we have achieved in Lokpal Bill by a hard bargaining with the parliamentarians and also with the so-called civil society and NGOs who do not understand what is investigation process..." he said.

He also expressed concerns that global financial market in modern times allows money to travel further and faster than ever before.

"In cases in which that money is the illicit proceeds of crime particularly in the cases of organised crime, the tracing, freezing and recovery of assets become very difficult and complex and, therefore, call upon all of us to update our knowledge and skills to keep pace with it," he said.

Earlier in his speech, CBI Director A P Singh said there has been a realisation of the need for law enforcement agencies across the world to further strengthen both "formal and informal channels of communication" in dealing with investigation of corruption cases.

"The tremendous growth in the transnational trade and investment, the financial transaction across borders and the ease with which the proceeds of corruption are transferred to another foreign jurisdiction have also increased the potential for transnational crimes and corruption beyond national boundaries, and have created new opportunities for concealment of proceeds of crime in land far away from the one in which the crime is committed," he said.

Singh said as a consequence, investigation and prosecution of the corrupt in such cases become difficult, especially as it involve gathering of evidence from foreign jurisdictions and involves "wealthy and powerful individuals fight protracted battles in the court rooms".

Recommending setting up of an asset-recovery knowledge centre, he said recovery of proceeds of illicit acts of corruption is a difficult task because of differences in legal systems, bank secrecy, lack of comprehensive international cooperation, lack of sharing of information etc. "In fact, the resistance of sharing of information has been identified as a key problem in asset recovery by a number of working groups on this subject in the past," he said.

The programme was attended by 29 participants from nine countries, including Maldives, Malaysia, Fiji, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal besides senior officers of the Interpol.


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