CBI chief raises questions on agency powers after Lokpal Bill

CBI points to anomalies in Lokpal Bill
New Delhi, Jan 22: Pointing out some "anomalies and legal inconsistencies" in the Lokpal Act, the CBI has raised a question as to whether the entire probe agency will be divested of all powers if any of its officer was found guilty of corruption or tampering with evidence.

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha while highlighting the "anomalies" in the Lokpal Act and amended Central Vigilance Commission Act in connection with its working has sought clarifications from the Union Government.

Sinha said these needed to be thoroughly examined to avoid any litigation as otherwise the entire anti-corruption effort will be weakened. In a five-page letter to Department of Personnel Secretary S K Sarkar, Sinha referred to some of the anomalies in the Lokpal Act which included Section 38, agency sources said.

Section 38 is a provision to "divest such agency engaged or associated with the Lokpal of all powers" if an officer or employee of the office of the Lokpal or agency engaged or associated is likely to destroy or in any way tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses in corruption cases.

Sinha referred to some anomalies in the Lokpal Act which included Section 38

The CBI Director said "clarification is required as to whether for a wrongdoing of an officer, the entire agency can be divested of all powers and responsibilities". Sinha also referred to another Section 46 (i) of Lokpal which deals with punishment of those who make vexatious complaints, saying this process should be initiated only after the individual against whom the complaint has been made approaches the competent court.

"It is suggested that in case such false, frivolous or vexatious complaint is made against the CBI, then Director CBI should also be authorised to make such complaints in the court," Sinha said.

The much awaited Lokpal Bill, which was passed during the Winter Session of Parliament last month, got the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee on January one.


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