Santosh Hegde favours introduction of moral education

Asserting that corruption hits the lowest strata the most, former Lok Ayukta of Karnataka N. Santosh Hegde said no soft corner should be harboured for corruption.

Speaking at CII Visakhapatnam zone annual day on ‘transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour for a corruption-free society,' here on Friday, he said only during his stint as Lok Ayukta his eyes were opened to corruption. That was why he was the only former Supreme Court Judge coming onto streets to fight corruption. He addressed meetings in 370 educational institutions during the last few years.

Crediting anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare with lighting a fire that became a wild fire, he said a platform was provided for the people to fight corruption.

Stating that till recently society had played a major role in encouraging corruption, Mr. Hegde felt a distinction should be made between legitimate and illegitimate wealth. He described corruption as a case of greed dominating need. “Ministers and leaders are behind the bars not because they need money,” he said referring to the 2G and Commonwealth Games scandals. Good politicians were an exception, he said citing the money being spent on elections and other alleged means of making money while being in office.

Referring to the objections raised in Parliament to Jan Lok Pal bill, he said unless democracy was defended it ran the danger of becoming “of the elected, by the elected and for the elected.”

Money was siphoned off from government schemes, he said quoting the loss of Rs.51,000 crore from eight schemes of Government of India being implemented by States. Apart from collusive corruption about which everyone kept quiet, lower level corruption really hurt, Mr. Hegde pointed out asserting “We can fight corruption if we have the will.”