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Updated: December 26, 2011 11:00 IST

Team Anna wants "best possible" anti-corruption law

Vinay Kumar
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Social activist Anna Hazare is set to go on a three-day fast starting December 27 for a strong Lokpal Bill. File photo
The Hindu Social activist Anna Hazare is set to go on a three-day fast starting December 27 for a strong Lokpal Bill. File photo

Two days before Parliament meets for a three-day extended winter session to discuss the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011, Team Anna wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and all MPs on Sunday, urging them to make the “best possible” anti-graft law and give the Lokpal independent investigative powers.

Anna Hazare is preparing to go on a three-day fast in Mumbai to demand a strong Lokpal Bill. The Bill, tabled in the Lok Sabha on December 22, proposes to create an anti-graft ombudsman with constitutional status. It also wants to refer complaints of corruption against all government employees, including the Prime Minister, to the Lokpal, though with some exceptions.

In the open letter, Mr. Hazare and his team at India Against Corruption said their yearlong anti-corruption campaign had brought people close to a piece of legislation capable of tackling the menace effectively.

“Sensing the national mood, Parliament has also taken upon itself the task of fostering 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 at the current draft of the Bill, we are also keen that the best possible law now emerge from the debate in the people's Houses,” the letter said.

“We urge Parliament's consideration and adoption of these points to give the country a real anti-corruption law. Our opposition to various other provisions of the draft Bill remains, and we will take up the fight for improvements to the legislation in the months and years ahead,” it said.

The letter urged the MPs to ensure that the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas are able to initiate investigations suo motu, without a complaint or reference from anyone. It should also not be required to alert the accused through preliminary enquiry or hearing before filing of a first information report as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which vetted the Bill.

Team Anna suggested three formulae for the MPs to consider:

The first was that the anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be merged with the Lokpal, and the anti-corruption bureaus and the Vigilance Departments of the State governments with the Lokayuktas. The second was that the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas should have their own investigative wings with exclusive jurisdiction over cases filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “The government's previous draft of the Bill included the second provision,” the letter pointed out.

The third was that the Lokpal should have administrative and financial control over the CBI, and the appointment of the CBI Director should be independent of any political control.

Team Anna also demanded that the jurisdiction of the Lokpal and the Lokayukta should cover Class C and D officers directly. The government's Bill has mentioned that the Lokpal would direct complaints against the lower bureaucracy to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

India Against Corruption said the Lokpal should be chosen through consensus of the selection committee. And the committee should comprise the Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha; two judges to be nominated by the Collegium of the Supreme Court judges; the Comptroller and Auditor-General; the Central Vigilance Commissioner; and the Chief Election Commissioner. “The search committee to suggest nominees should consist of the former Chief Justices; the former Comptroller and Auditor-General; the former Central Vigilance Commissioner; and the former Chief Election Commissioner,” the letter said. Without such provisions, “the Lokpal Bill would be just another law — one among the many that have proven ineffective so far.”

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Budhdev and Mr Verghes has few takers...

from:  ALOK KUMAR
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 19:14 IST

Congress allied UPA government should stop exploiting people of India and advice to their leaders to be on the point- corruption issue. They should not divert the people's concentration from the issue having raised the meaningless subject. It seems to be leaders of the congress party were not good student in real. They don't know how to answer of a question. The Congress party should not move aside from the point-blaming Anna's relation with RSS or BJP.

from:  Dipankar Mondal
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 12:40 IST

One day poor masses of India will teach a strong lesson to so called politicians and their kids..

from:  vishal sharma
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 12:34 IST

I fully agree with Mr.Buddhdev's comments. Even lokpal is going to be manned by ordinary people, who can have all the weaknesses of any Indian. In a TV discussion I heard that the strength of the lokpal officials could be at least thirty thousand. If an Indian citizen can be investigated and charged without even a case against him/her and without giving a chance for explanation - where are we heading? Will any govt officer take any decision which can even remotely be accused of favoring someone or the other? The media, including Hindu,but mainly the visual media have built up huge expectations in people, which,I honestly believe, cannot be attained. What I think the lokpal will achieve is, when I, an ordinary person with no clout, go to a village office for some certificate, I will have to pay to the usual clerk, and then he will direct me to some official of the lokpal too who will have to paid too. An executive with no control over its investigative agency? Any other country does so?

from:  George Varghese
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 11:25 IST

We want to live in India as one lives in US or UK. Till now this was not possible because of the 'corrupt' environment promoted by the 'elected' goonda raj. This continued till now for 64 years. It sure cannot continue for all time to come. Kumbakarnan has awaken from his a bit long sleep!

from:  K Stephen Daniel
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 11:22 IST

In no civilised democratic nation the elected parliament is placed as a second fiddle in terms of power and processes. The Jan Lokpal Bill and some of its key recommendations are most dangerous as to have a body that acts as investigator, judge and jury all in one. It will have provisions to investigate people without complaint received, no right to know about it and no right to respond till a report is filed. All, these will be a move towards the police state. This is not understood by the people who start repeating the need for a 'stronger bill'. This is what Anna team wants. It is an affront to the word democracy and on top of it they also want a bunch of bureaucrats to manage funds and administration of the most powerful body CBI. Look at the selection panel they are. The search committee to suggest nominees should consist of the former Chief Justices; the former Comptroller and Auditor-General; the former Central Vigilance Commissioner; and the former Chief Election Commissioner.

from:  Buddhdev
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 10:45 IST

Lots of comments fly around on party politic line. It is important to know that if the Anna Bill is dangerous enough to push us into a police state or not. How many of you would like to be investigated even there is not a single complain against you? Do you also want the Government to inquire about you without you knowing or even having no chance to be able to give your explanations through preliminary inquiry to present your version before a report is filed against you? India's most powerful investigating body just does not deal with corruption but many matters concerning state security and terrorist and other activities. He wants a bunch of appointed people in the name of Lokpal to act as investigator, judge and jury. Anna wants the power with total control over CBI for its as administrative and financial then what we are in effect setting up is a parallel government. It would be an an uncontrollable beast with full police state.

from:  Buddhdev
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 10:36 IST

Team Anna is not fighting for the agenda of Anna or his mates, every Indian heart is in tune with what Anna wants to achieve, to get rid of horrible corruption that has seeped into every govt office from the peon to the PM, especially this current govt.

from:  Jagadeesh Sheety
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 10:35 IST

No Law works in India unless there is a will in the attitude of the officers and people representatives to menace the corruption. Firstly paper money has to be reduced in every transaction like how in western countries happened to be. They only asks for credit card or online shopping which controls black money. In Canada for any payment made by cash is not acceptable and in any deposit of cash in current account or savings account 40% tax is deducted at the time of deposit as income tax and the balance amount is credited into the account. We have to file all the receipts and claim the tax refund if it is excess paid by us. This will enable for any country to control corruption and free access to all the accounts. In our country at least we should try with 15% to 20% tax deduction for every deposit in the account which is bear minimum. Laws are to be implemented and they are not just to pass the Bill.

from:  poddatur CANADA
Posted on: Dec 26, 2011 at 03:52 IST
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