Bangalore, Dec 21: Criticising government's move to keep CBI out of the purview of Lokpal, Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde today said the step would reduce the anti-corruption watchdog to a mere complainant which is not acceptable.
“This is unacceptable totally because now they are trying to make the Lokpal institution just a complainant, not an investigative agency”, the former Supreme Court judge told PTI.
Lokpal Bill was cleared last night by the Union Cabinet. The new Bill will be a Constitution amendment Bill which will also bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal with certain riders.
The Bill, however, keeps the CBI out of purview of Lokpal except on cases which are referred to it by the latter. The Lokpal will have its own wings for preliminary inquiries and prosecution.
“From what I read in newspapers, the Lokpal institution which is going to be headed by top-level people can only enquire, then investigation is handed over to the CBI. CBI, in turn, is answerable to the Government. It does not come under Lokpal. Therefore, what's the role of Lokpal? Only an enquiry officer?”, the former Karnataka Lokayukta said.
With this move, the CBI would only become “all-powerful”, he said.
“If a complaint is given by the Lokpal, then that investigation will be conducted by CBI. This means Lokpal has become an ordinary complainant which will go to CBI and lodge a complaint and CBI will then investigate in the manner it likes and Lokpal will have no control in investigation part of it. This is not acceptable”, Hegde said.
“If CBI is a holy cow for the ruling party, let them give a trained organisation for investigation by Lokpal. Let them create a new organisation”, Hegde advocated.
“What's the big idea of continuing the CVC?”, he asked.
“What way Lokpal is useful? Just creating Lokpal and giving employment to people?”.
On the provision that five of the nine members of the Lokpal Committee would be SCs/STs/OBCs, women or minorities, Hegde said, “No body today can say no to that” but added that it should not have been put on record.
Instead, what's being followed in judiciary, where there is constitutionally no reservation but “in reality there is reservation and even regional representation”, should have been the approach.
“You evolve a system by which (five members are from these sections)....”, he said, indicating that it should be some kind of unspoken and unwritten rules.
On the Citizens' Charter Bill tabled in Lok Sabha yesterday, Hegde said it was an idea of Anna Hazare but the government “took out bodily” this provision from the Jan Lokpal of the Team and made it a separate act.
“Now, these people (the Government) they just want to show that they are not yielding to Anna”, he said. “May be to take credit that we (the Government) did it”.