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Rediff.com  » News » Lokpal Bill: What about our draft, asks team Anna

Lokpal Bill: What about our draft, asks team Anna

Last updated on: July 28, 2011 20:28 IST

Civil society members accuse PM of inaction

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Civil society members on Thursday came down heavily on the government's decision to present only their version of the Lokpal Bill. Joint draft committee members Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan went as far as launching a personalised attack on the prime minister, with Bedi mimicking the PM and Bhushan accusing him of "inaction" in the 2G scam.

Prashant Bhushan said that the government went back on its word after it was decided at the joint committee meetings that both drafts of the Lokpal bill the government draft and the civil society draft would be presented at the Cabinet.

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Image: Kiran Bedi

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'Distorted summary of our bill was presented'

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"The government only presented their draft of the bill, while a distorted summary of our bill was presented. The government's draft will now be tabled in the Parliament and most of the issues we had objected to in their bill remain unchanged.

In its present state, out of the nine members, five will be from the government the PM, a jurist, a citizen, a speaker and a cabinet minister all nominated by the government," Bhushan said.

Bhushan told rediff.com that there will be no Lokayukts under the bill. "This means public distribution scams and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scams will not be under its purview. They have kept the PM out of its purview. That means that even after (former telecom minister) A Raja told the court that he took approval from the PM for whatever he did, the PM cannot be investigated. No official papers can be sought by the Lokpal from the PMO's office," said Bhushan.

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Image: Prashant Bhushan

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'A corrupt PM is the biggest threat to the nation'

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When asked if he thought Manmohan Singh was corrupt, Bhushan said, "A corrupt PM is the biggest threat to the nation. I don't think the prime minister took money, but he was well aware of what was going on in the 2G scam. He did not take any steps to stop it. Maybe because of the compulsion of coalition politics, he allowed it to go on."

Bhushan said that the judges have been kept out of its purview and the government has decided to come up with the Judicial Accountability bill.

"There is no guarantee when this bill will come. And in its present form, is useless. On a complaint against a judge, two sitting judges and a retired of the same court will try the accused. And if they find the complaint frivolous, the complainant can go to jail for two years. It has been designed in such a manner that people won't dare to complain. The government's Lokpal bill is a cruel joke on the people of this country," Bhushan said.

Joint drafting committee member, Arvind Kejriwal listed several scams and said that with the government's draft of the bill, these cases won't come under the Lokpal's purview.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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'High profile scam cannot be investigated by the Lokpal'

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"CWG scam, Adarsh Society scam, Reddy scam, Taj Corridor scam, Fodder scam and all such high profile scam cannot be investigated by the Lokpal. I challenge the government to name five scams that will come under the purview of their Lokpal bill. The government is misleading the people. They say they don't have the power to introduce the Lokayukt. This is a lie," Kejriwal said.

Kiran Bedi said that the government was coming out with a "fractured bill". "Our Jan Lokpal Bill was a comprehensive one. In the government's bill, they don't have provisions for a judicial accountability, protection of whistle-blowers, Public Grievance Cell etc. Instead, they have said that they will come up with separate bills for all these. They took so long for introducing and acting on just the Lokpal bill, who knows how long it will be before the rest of the bills come up?" Bedi said.

Bedi attacked the PM, saying that this bill was just to fulfill his announcement of creating an anti-corruption bill at G-20 summit last year. Bedi went as far as mimicking the prime minister, claiming that the bill was introduced just so as to reassure the foreigners that India has a Lokpal bill.

"We have a Lokpal bill. A Lokpal bill has been passed in our country," Bedi said, mimicking the PM as saying to his counterparts at the next G-20 summit. edi also criticized the government's draft by saying that it won't have any officers in it.

 "The maximum they will get are maybe constables. They won't get any officers. They talk about recruitments, but recruitment on that scale takes a long time," Bedi said.


Image: Arvind Kejriwal

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