Anna Hazare team slams govt version of Lokpal

Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Jun 23: Raising their pitch on the Lokpal Bill issue, the Anna Hazare team today (Jun 23) alleged that the government version of the ombudsman was not aimed at fighting corruption but for targeting those who complain against the menace.

The Hazare team felt that the exclusion of a large chunk of the bureaucracy from the ambit of Lokpal and the provision to hear officials accused of corruption before filing of case and charge sheet were not proper.

They wondered how most public servants can be left out of Lokpal's purview while bringing NGOs up to village level within its ambit. They expressed apprehension that Lokpal would be able to haul up activists from any of the organisations representing farmers, labourers and tribals or movements related to anti-corruption, land and other issues.

"Rather than gunning for the corrupt and corruption, government's Lokpal seems to be gunning for those who complain against corruption," the statement said.

It said the government argued that the Lokpal would get overwhelmed with too many cases if all public servants -- 40 lakh central and 80 lakh state government officials -- were brought under its ambit and restricted to around 65,000 officers above the rank of Joint Secretary.

"In sharp contrast, all NGOs are covered under government's Lokpal, small or big, whether in state or centre.

"So, in a remote village, if a group of youngsters detect corruption in panchayat works using RTI, the youngsters can be hauled up by Lokpal but Lokpal would not have jurisdiction over Sarpanch, BDO or their corruption," it said.

Citing an example, it said, Lokpal would not have jurisdiction over Delhi government officials, but it would have jurisdiction over all RWAs in the capital. "All small neighbourhood groups who raise donations to do Ramlila or Durga Puja would be under Lokpal's scanner," it said.


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