They will weaken anti-corruption regime

As campaign against corruption gathers momentum, the Central Bureau of Investigation will tell the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Law, Justice and Personnel that both the civil society's Jan Lokpal Bill and the government's Lokpal Bill appear “unworkable” and will weaken the anti-corruption regime.

In a presentation scheduled for Thursday before the committee, CBI Director A.P. Singh will present the agency's views on the Bills.

As for the proposals of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the CBI's contention is that it is a “composite organisation,” and to treat its anti-corruption wing as “severable” will be counter-productive. It feels that conferring police powers on the Jan Lokpal to enable it to supervise the anti-corruption wing may result in a breach in the doctrine of separation of powers, besides making the Lokpal vulnerable to being summoned to a court of law.

A critical scrutiny of the Jan Lokpal, according to the CBI, revealed that the procedures it prescribes are envisaged as being highly transparent and, therefore, may not be conducive to cases under the Official Secrets Act or those related to defence procurement.

The CBI will also point out that most of its branches in the States investigate all types of crimes, and transfer of its anti-corruption wing to the Jan Lokpal will leave it without infrastructure in most of the States.

In the CBI's view, most of the crimes, including economic offences and organised crimes, have an anti-corruption dimension. The CBI minus an anti-corruption wing will have a conflict of jurisdiction while dealing with such cases. Even violent crimes, at times, overlap with corruption cases, such as murder of a right to information activist and smuggling of weapons in the northeast.

As per the provisions in the government's Lokpal Bill, there will be two distinct anti-corruption agencies having concurrent jurisdiction — the investigation wing of the Lokpal and the CBI. According to highly placed sources, this is likely to result in a conflict of jurisdiction. There will be confusion over which agency will investigate a particular case, and it will erode the credibility of both the organisations, the CBI is likely to inform the committee.

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