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Team Anna wants Lokpal bill passed before Food Security bill

Source: PTI
December 19, 2011 22:40 IST
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Team Anna on Monday evening demanded that Lokpal Bill be passed by Parliament before the legislation on Food Security to ensure that the money spent on ensuring food for all reaches the deserved without any diversion of funds.

"Lokpal Bill should be passed before Food Security Bill. Then only the money meant for ensuring food security reaches the deserved or else this money will go into the pockets of parties, ministers and officers," activist Arvind Kejriwal said after a strategy meeting of Anna Hazare's core team.

He said it is believed that the cost to the exchequer to implement the objectives of the food security bill would cost around Rs 1 lakh crore and by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's estimates, only 15 per cent of the money reaches the public.

"So only Rs 15,000 crore reaches public while Rs 85,000 crore is lost to corruption. That means food security bill does not give protection to public unless Lokpal is passed. That is why we demand that Lokpal bill be passed before Food Security Bill," he said.

Activist Kiran Bedi also echoed Kejriwal's sentiments saying, "over Rs 1 lakh crore for Food Security Bill withoutensuring its financial integrity? Should a strong Lokpal not precede it?"

Kejriwal also spoke about the need for bringing the anti-corruption wing of CBI under Lokpal, asking why was the government so afraid of letting the control over the central investigating agency go.

"If CBI is out of government's control, what is so problematic? This creates a suspicion that something is very wrong," he said.

Bedi alleged that the government's unwillingness to part with Central Bureau of Investigation was to protect its past.

"People are demanding to make CBI effective and not divide and share it. Original government draft was to keep original CBI with them. May be to to keep past protected? And create another one with borrowed resources?" she said.

"What is Lokpal without CBI? Where was need for Lokpal then? What did Govt mean by Strong lokpal? What did Anna fast and people agitate for?" she said.

A Team Anna member said its working group met to discuss the situation against the backdrop of the moves by the government to bring forward a Lokpal Bill.

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