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ISRO, arms deals also under Jan Lokpal ambit?

Last updated on: May 9, 2011 18:20 IST

ISRO, arms deals also under Jan Lokpal ambit?

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Organisations like the Indian Space Research Organisation and arms deals would also be brought under the ambit of the proposed Lokpal bill, Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde has said.

Can you spot any loophole in the Lokpal draft? 

"We propose to cover organisations like ISRO and arms deals under the purview of Jan Lokpal as they are important from internal security angle, besides the Prime Minister above all who will come under its jurisdiction," Hegde, part of the 10-member Joint Drafting Committee on Lokpal Bill, told media persons in Bengaluru.

Responding to a query, he said till date three meetings of the committee,comprising representatives of government and civil society, had been held.

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Ministers, MPs and bureaucrats too in Lokpal radar

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"In the first meeting, we just discussed the procedures to be followed, in the second, we discussed about the things we need to focus and in the third meeting the government gave its response", he said.

Ministers, MPs and bureaucrats too seem set to come under the purview of the proposed Lokpal with government and civil society members of the drafting committee expressing unanimity on their inclusion.

However, there is disagreement over bringing the Prime Minister and the judiciary under its ambit.

The proposed anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal, will not have to wait for the permission of the government to investigate allegation of corruption against ministers, MPs and bureaucrats.



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No permission needed to investigate

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During the third meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee to prepare a stronger Lokpal bill in New Delhi last week, the members were unanimous that the ombudsman would not have to seek permission to either investigate or initiate prosecution against public servants.

The move to give powers to Lokpal to initiate investigations on its own would require amendments in certain existing laws. These may include the Prevention of Corruption Act, CrPC and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act -- a law which governs the functioning of the CBI.

While there were basic principles on having an effective Lokpal among the members, there were certain areas which have an impact on existing laws and constitutional provisions which need more discussion, the meeting decided.



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Next meeting scheduled for May 23

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As of now, the sanction to prosecute a minister comes from the Prime Minister. In case of an MP, the sanctioning authority is the Lok Sabha Speaker or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

However, inclusion of Prime Minister and judiciary under the ambit of the Lokpal was a sticking point and the issue was flagged for broader discussion at the next meeting scheduled for May 23.

The meeting did not discuss the powers the proposed Lokpal will have. The latest version of the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by the Anna Hazare-led group proposed power to tap phone calls by the ombudsman and having institutions like the CBI and CVC under its supervisory control.

Two more meetings are scheduled for May 23 and May 30.



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