‘No sign of a strong Bill despite three parliamentary sessions’

Pressing for a strong Lokpal Bill, members of civil society organisations led by the former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde and members of the State unit of India Against Corruption, will start demonstrations at Freedom Park from July 25.

Addressing presspersons on Friday, Mr. Hegde, a key member of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s team, said the demonstrations will coincide with the indefinite fast in Jantar Mantar by activists Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Raj and Manish Sisodia.

“Although there has been three sessions since the Parliament agreed in principle on a strong Lokpal Bill, there are no indications of any such thing happening. We therefore have no choice but to take to the streets once again to demonstrate citizens’ frustration,” Mr. Hegde said. “Although a Lokpal Bill was presented in the Rajya Sabha, it was without any teeth. It has now been sent to a select committee, which is only to delay matters further.”

Criminal cases

Pointing out that citizens were now forced to conclude that Lokpal will never happen, he said: “This is because 162 sitting MPs have pending criminal cases as per their own affidavits declared with the Election Commission of India and no major political party is willing to pass a strong and effective anti-corruption law because it will destroy them. That apart, 14 Cabinet Ministers in the Central government have cases pending against them.”

Same venue

In Bangalore, Freedom Park will once again become the venue to bring together diverse sections of society from July 25.

The demands will include setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe and report the allegations against 15 corrupt Ministers within six months, handing over pending cases against all corrupt party leaders to SIT for independent investigations and setting up of fast track courts to pass judgment on allegations against 162 MPs in Lok Sabha within six months, he said.

H.S. Doreswamy, freedom fighter, said a second freedom movement is the need of the hour. “I am happy to see the desire for change. I am 94 and I want the change to happen in my lifetime,” he added.