Team Anna unhappy over reports of proposed Lokpal bill

New Delhi : Expressing unhappiness over the reported exclusion of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), judiciary, Group C and D employees, and the citizen’s charter from the proposed Lokpal bill, Team Anna Monday said this would “reduce the anti-graft ombudsman to an empty tin box with no powers and functions”.

“Media reports suggesting the government proposes to remove CBI, judiciary, citizen’s charter, whistleblower protection and Group C and Group D employees from Lokpal jurisdiction would reduce Lokpal to an empty tin box with no powers and functions,” said a statement from Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption.

“The reports filtering out of standing committee discussions on the issue are a cause of concern,” said the statement.

The Lokpal bill is before the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice and Team Anna has already made its submissions before the panel.

The statement said that Anna suspended his fast August this year after a resolution passed by parliament that three issues, namely Lokayuktas in states, lower bureaucracy under Lokpal and a citizen’s charter, would be included in the proposed Lokpal bill.

Citing media reports that the jurisdiction of Lokpal would be confined to Group A and Group B employees of central government only and the jurisdiction of state Lokayuktas would be confined to Group A and Group B employees of state government only, the IAC said it would mean the Lokpal/Lokayukta would not have jurisdiction to investigate allegations of corruption against Group C and D employees.

“We strongly oppose this proposal,” said the IAC statement, alleging maximum corruption takes place at the level of Group C and Group D employees.

“A common man has to deal with Group C and Group D employees on a daily basis,” it said, adding: “Lakhs of people who participated in the anti-corruption movement wanted a solution to this day-to-day corruption.”

The IAC further said the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) cannot probe Group C and D staff as it is an advisory body and does not have power to register an FIR and carry out criminal investigations.

Stating that Lokpal could create special units to deal with high level corruption, which could be directly monitored by Lokpal members, the IAC said this is how CBI and Income Tax departments function.

On media reports suggesting keeping the CBI out of Lokpal’s purview, the IAC said CBI doing investigation and sending its report to Lokpal would reduce Lokpal to merely a post office.

“It is extremely critical that CBI is unshackled from government control and converted into the investigative arm of Lokpal,” said the IAC.

Stating that the government proposes to address public grievance issues through another bill, the IAC said the proposed bill is bound to collapse within a few days of its enactment as it proposes a highly centralised system.

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