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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Lokpal is being made an Enquiry Pal: Bedi

NEW DELHI Team Anna member Mrs Kiran Bedi today contended that the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendations on Lokpal Bill will only help in making the ombdusman an “Enquiry Pal” with no powers at all.

Mrs Bedi said Anna Hazare and his supporters did not fight for such an anti-corruption watchdog. “The Standing Committee report on Lokpal Bill is very self-defeating. Lokpal is being made an 'Enquiry Pal',” Mrs Bedi said.

Contending that they have not agitated for “another CVC (Central Vigilance Commission” which does not have any power, she contended: “Without CBI, Lokpal is an Enquiry Pal. But in the report CBI is the chief chef for cooking (investigations) and Lokpal the bearer (prosecution) serving what is there.”
“CBI is hamstrung. It needs to be set free. Its current occupants need help. Why is government not letting the CBI go? Government is afraid of losing control of the CBI,” she said.

She said the the ball is now in the court of the Opposition and us too. “Do we let this enslavement continue? Or strive to change? I pray Opposition unites to bring CBI's anti corruption wing under Lokpal,” she said.
Asked about the next course of action, she said Mr Hazare has already announced that he will resume the agitation. Referring to continuous disruption of Parliament on one issue or another, Mrs Bedi said if needed, the government should call a special session to pass the Lokpal Bill. Team Anna has been insisting that the Bill should be passed in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

The Standing Committee has concluded its deliberations on the Lokpal Bill amidst sharp division among its members on the inclusion of the Prime Minister within Lokpal's ambit.

In an open letter to IPS officers, Mrs Bedi said: “IPS must stand up to set CBI free. There is still a window of opportunity. It's now or God knows when?”

She said the Standing Committee report revealed that CBI will remain with the government and Lokpal will merely be a preliminary inquiry agency with all safeguards for the accused at various stages after which it will handover the matter to CBI to investigate the case. This hamstrung the CBI.

“Friends, please understand this is an opportunity for the CBI to be a part of the Lokpal if it wants to set itself free from political control and be an equal member of the Lokpal. As regards its investigation it will remain insulated in view of its expertise as well as the law.

“If the CBI does not come with Lokpal it could be harassed since Lokpal will be comprising heavy weights. Choose to be an equal member and set yourself free! Its devil of political abuse on one hand and equal Lokpal membership on the other, choice has to made now,” she said.

Another Team Anna member Mr Manish Sisodia said they did not understand the logic behind exclusion of Prime Minister from the ambit of Lokpal. “You want to say that nobody can speak about corruption by Prime Minister when he is office. What is this demitting office clause? So if one Prime Minister returns to power, you cannot touch the Prime Minister,” he said.


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