Team Anna on Wednesday upped its offensive against the government, accusing Lokpal committee chairman Abhishek Singhvi of disrespecting the Parliament resolution which assured that citizens’ charter and lower bureaucracy would be included in the Lokpal bill. Of the three conditions assured in the Parliament’s ‘sense of the House’, only one — establishing Lokayuktas in states – has been included in the report.
Activist Arvind Kejriwal said Singhvi was disrespecting Parliament by not abiding by the assurances. “Parliament passed a resolution during Anna’s fast to include lower bureaucracy and citizens’ charter in Lokpal. Now, Abhishek Manu Singhvi is disrespecting Parliament by violating it,” Kejriwal said. The panel has recommended exclusion of both from Lokpal bill.
He claimed that the recommendations of the standing committee would not have any impact on corruption but instead it would dismantle the existing anti-graft mechanism. “I think the recommendations of the (parliamentary) standing committee, whatever they are, the Lokpal which is coming, I don’t think this will have any impact on corruption. On the contrary, it is likely to dismantle whatever exists in the name of anti-corruption in this country,” he said.
Claiming that the standing committee proposed to divide CBI into three parts, Kejriwal said the move would cripple the investigating agency. “So by taking excuse of Anna andolan, rather than strengthening the anti-corruption system, they seem to further weaken whatever exists. We are disappointed,” he said.
However, he was of the view that it was “extremely difficult” at this stage to say anything because the standing committee’s recommendations were not final. “The government can accept or go further than that. So let’s wait and watch,” Kejriwal said.
Asked whether Hazare would go ahead with his proposed fast, he said it was for the Gandhian to take a call. “As far as fast is concerned, it is Anna who is going to decide… All that I can say is we are committed till the end for a strong Lokpal bill,” he added.
On the panel’s recommendation that Group C and D employees would be covered under CVC, he said, “CVC has only 230 employees. How can these 230 employees keep track of 57 lakh employees. You need to have at least 28,000 employees.”
Another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said opposition parties should come together on Lokpal issue the way in which they did so on FDI.
She also indicated that inclusion of prime minister under Lokpal may not remain their priority, saying bringing CBI under the ombudsman would make anti-corruption efforts more effective than any other measure. Bedi said Lokpal without CBI was a “sabotaged Lokpal” which would defeat the very purpose of setting up such a mechanism.
“More than the prime minister, it is the CBI in Lokpal which will make it effective. Let’s not get distracted. A united opposition can call the bluff,” she said.