The amended Lokpal Bill, where State Lokayuktas are no more the responsibility of the Centre, was on Thursday approved by the Union Cabinet, paving the way for its consideration by the two houses of Parliament. However, anti-corruption activists like Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal rubbished the bill saying that it lacked ‘teeth’.
Case 1: Can the Lokpal Bill prosecute anyone?
Kejriwal: “This is the first anti-corruption body in the world which will not have the power to investigate. It is going to outsource its investigation. It will be a high status body with red light cars, air conditioned offices but will not have the power to investigate and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) continues to remain under the government’s control.”
Narayanasamy: “As far as the CBI is concerned, CBI works on the direction of the direction of the Lokpal. They come under the purview of the Lokpal. (But) the appointment will be done by the collegium. And the collegium will be headed by the Prime Minister.”
Case 2: Is the Lokpal a new Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in a weaker avatar?
Kejriwal: CVC has the same power and does the same job. Has it improved the situation? Are you (the government) trying to say that you are creating a new CVC by the name of Lokpal? If Lokpal finds that the officer in CBI is not doing its job, will it have the power to change the officer? Why are you making such jalebis? (creating confusion). I can challenge on this channel that this is a bill where not a single conviction is possible under this law.”
Narayanasamy: “As far as the Lokpal is concerned Lokpal is an overarching body. And as far as the complaints received by them they will conduct the preliminary enquiry and investigation and filing , thereafter they will give sanction for prosecution. Lokpal on its own cannot go and investigate. They will need some external agency.”