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Lokpal Bill: Anna cries betrayal, Opposition sees red

Last updated on: February 1, 2013 16:29 IST

Lokpal Bill: Anna cries betrayal, Opposition sees red

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Accusing the government of going back on its assurances to give a strong Lokpal Bill, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare on Friday threatened to start another country-wide agitation to achieve his demand of a pro-people Jan Lokpal.

Slamming the government Lokpal draft, Hazare took on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and accused them of not fulfilling the promises made to him, while addressing reporters at Constitution Club in the Capital.

Reiterating his demand to bring lower bureaucracy within the Lokpal's jurisdiction and to make investigative agencies like CBI, CVC independent like the Election Commission, Hazare said the draft cleared by the Union Cabinet would make for a 'toothless' Lokpal.

"As long as the officers of Class I, II, III and IV are not made accountable, the poor people of the country will suffer. Investigative agencies like the CBI and the CVC must be brought out of the government clutches to ensure a free and fare inquiry into scams like 2G and CWG etc," said Hazare.

"If the CBI were independent, ministers like P Chidambaram would have been behind bars," he added.

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Lokpal Bill: Anna cries betrayal, Opposition sees red

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Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist also took the Congress-led UPA government to task over its failure to formulate an effective anti-graft bill, which would help in the eradication of graft from the country.

BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the country wants an effective Lokpal Bill and not a weak one.

"You (the government) have not made your stand clear on the issue of providing autonomy to the CBI. The rights are incomplete. There is a need for an effective Lokpal Bill to root out corruption from the country. We will raise the issue with fill vigour in the Parliament and will propose suggestions and amendments," he added.

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Image: BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi


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Lashing out at the government for making a mockery of the Lokpal Bill, CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said: "Today, also will CBI first conduct an enquiry if it has to conduct a raid at that place or will they issue a notice to that company that they will conduct a raid? It is sheer mockery. When you have prima-facie evidence and when Lokpal has decided that prima-facie evidence is there and an enquiry should be made, so, if you will inform before conducting probe then there is no importance of that evidence."

"The government has not accepted the suggestions of the select committee on the basis of these questions. This clearly indicates that malafide intention of the government," she said.

The Union Cabinet had on Thursday delinked the Lokpal from the Lokayuktas or anti-graft ombudsmen in states as it gave its nod to the Lokpal Bill amendments.

The cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accepted 14 out of the 16 amendments recommended by a select panel of the Rajya Sabha on the proposed Lokpal bill.

The government turned down two amendments, saying that now officials facing a preliminary probe will be given a hearing, and the Lokpal will have no power to transfer Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials investigating a case referred by it.




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