Lokpal Bill only offers free legal help to the corrupt, says Kejriwal

Vrinda Malik
Staff Reporter

MUMBAI: Arvind Kejriwal, key aide of Anna Hazare reached here on Sunday evening at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ground at suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex. Amidst cheers, slogans and clapping the activist was welcomed to the venue by volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC) where discussions were being held for the upcoming fast and Jail bharo andolan.

“Government has only labelled the bill as anti-graft, in reality the bill provides free legal help to the person accused of corruption. Instead of being strict on each act of corruption, the bill covers only five per cent of government servants and 10 per cent politicians and the strictness is only on NGOs, temples, clubs, schools… the present draft is a tool to ensure that nothing ever changes,” Mr Kejriwal said.

“We are a democratic country and everyone has the right to protest but protesting on an issue that is presently being discussed in the parliament is not appropriate.  Also team Anna is misdirecting the public sentiment against corruption to Lokpal, and encouraging people to participate in a badly conceived  plan which has no clear aim,” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant said.

Meanwhile team Anna has written an open letter, addressed to, “Respected Prime Minister and Members of Parliament,” the letter states that year-long people’s campaign has brought them to the very edge of legislation and sensing the national mood, Parliament has also taken it upon itself to foster a significant debate on the issues within the Bill, and for this we thank our elected representatives. While we are on record with our displeasure over the current draft of the bill, we are also keen that the best possible law should now emerge from the debate in the people’s Houses.

The letter goes on to state four provisions without which the law will be ineffective. The first provisions stated is that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas must be able to suo moto initiate their own investigations, without a complaint or reference from anyone. It should also not be required to alert the accused through preliminary enquiry or hearing before filing an FIR (this is as recommended by the Standing Committee).

The second provision states that anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal, anti-corruption bureaus and state vigilance departments in state governments should be similarly merged into Lokayuktas or Lokpal and Lokayuktas should have their own investigative or the administrative and financial control over CBI should be with Lokpal and the appointment of CBI Director should be independent of any political control.

The letter further demands that election of the Lokpal should be through the consensus of the selection panel of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, two judges to be nominated by collegium of Supreme Court judges, CAG, CVC and CEC. Search committee to suggest nominees should consist of former Chief Justices, Former CAG, former, CVC and former CEC. And the last demand is that the Lokpal/Lokayukta’s jurisdiction should include Class C and D officers directly. (Eom)




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