Corporate lobbying not illegal: Khurshid

Kolkata, Dec. 17 (ANI): Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said that corporate lobbying within legitimate limits is not illegal, but requires a more transparent model.

"Has any one said that corporate lobbying is illegal? Nobody has said that, but corporate lobbying that does lead to an illegal act is illegal. Should we go beyond the illegality to those areas, which we think are improper, people or public at large think are improper. Should we make those areas more transparent, if somebody wants to lobby they must declare that we have so and so as our lobbyists. Is that not the thing that is done in United States of America? I think we have to have a transparency model," said Khurshid.

A debate over limits of corporate lobbying erupted in the country after an expose revealed nexus between several top journalists, media persons and politicians with corporate lobbyists in allegedly fixing berths in the federal cabinet.

Khurshid also said that though lobbying and public relations are a part of the democratic set up and said any decision on regulations on it could only be brought after consultations with other ministries.

"Corporate lobbying is just not our concern. Corporate lobbying is a concern of all ministries, which in some are attached to business and enterprise. I think we need to consult amongst ourselves. This is democratic right that people have to lobby, to argue, to defend and to promote. But it should be in legitimate limits," he said.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signified his awareness of corporate sentiment on the issue of tapping of phones, after business houses raised concerns over the practice.

Singh spoke about the issue in the context of the leaked conversations of several top journalists, media persons and politicians with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia.

Two Indian magazines published the content of the tapes that contained the conversations. The leaked conversations were recorded by government agencies, they claimed.

Radia's name appeared in the case when a tape with the recorded conversation between A Raja, former federal Telecom Minister, an industrialist, journalists and were presented as evidence in a public interest litigation (PIL), regarding the 2G spectrum case before the Supreme Court.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, a constitutional audit authority, in a report held Raja responsible for causing losses estimated at a whopping Rs.1.76 trillion to the exchequer in 2G telecom spectrum allotments to favoured operators without any auction bids. (ANI)

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