Expressing shock over the murder of Additional Collector Yashwant Sonawane in Maharashtra by the oil mafia, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said such incidents should not recur and stringent action should be taken in corruption cases within six months.

“We need to look into why this happening and we need to ensure this does not happen again,” he said.

To a query on a report by retired IAS officer Leena Mehendale, who had filed a detailed report on fuel adulteration in the State 15 years ago, Mr. Gandhi said, “The way I see this is that corruption is a serious issue.”

“We have to look into this issue in a collective way. Stringent action against corruption is needed. Punishment should be within six months, instead of 20 years,” he said, adding, “We in Congress have taken stern action against corruption“.

On the issue of black money stashed abroad, he said, “We should put in as much efforts as possible to ensure that what is India’s money, what is people’s money, comes back.”

To a query, Mr. Gandhi said, “I never made connection between coalition and price rise.”

In the political process, he said, “The real challenge for us is to open the doors to youngsters. We have started a democratic process in the Youth Congress. There is not a single nominated person. This is the way ahead.”

Political parties lack democracy

He said political parties lacked democracy and there was a “rot” in the political structure which needs to be changed by opening the doors of the system.

“The rot is in the political structure. We have to change that. My whole attention is towards that,” he said.

“The answer lies in opening the doors of political system,” Mr. Gandhi who is on the last leg of his three-day visit to Maharashtra, told reporters here.

On the issue of corruption, he said, “Corruption is taking place because doors of the political system are closed and the average person who wants to do good is not allowed in.”

“Common people feel politics is corrupt...it is not working the way it should work. We believe the only way to change this is to look at the way parties are structured,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi said he was extremely happy to see the “response we are getting in the Youth Congress”

To a query on his party fielding him as Prime Minister in the polls, he said “This is your assumption, not my assumption. My assumption and my work is to repair the political system.”