Mumbai: The agitation to demand a strong
Lokpal is not aimed against any individual or party,
anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said on Tuesday.
"This agitation is not against any individual or party.
The common man is finding it impossible to live without
encountering corruption. Corruption has increased and has led
to inflation and price rise. Corruption is the root cause of
inflation," he said.
"Corruption may not end altogether but we can curb it by
at least 80 to 90 per cent," he said at a meet-the-press
programme organised by Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh.
The Gandhian recalled that it was on August 9, when he
went on a fast here to seek the Right to Information Act in
"We think this fight against corruption is the second
battle for independence. Lakhs of people sacrificed their
lives to force British out of the country. But in last 65
years, there has been no change.
"Scams like 2G spectrum allocation scam and Suresh
Kalmadi`s CWG scam were unearthed due to RTI Act. But that Act
does not have the power to send culprits to jail. The Jan
Lokpal bill has that power. That is why we have been asking
the government to enact this legislation," Hazare said.
He favoured strong punishment to deter the corrupt. "Why
not provide for life term? In fact, we are saying that the
corrupt should be hanged," he said.
"There should be a provision to recover the amount
involved in corruption. Merely sending the guilty person to
jail won`t suffice. The money should be recovered from the
person," he said.
Those in the government lack the will to create a
corruption-free India, Hazare said.
"We are saying bring in the Jan Lokpal. Give it autonomy.
It should be free from any government control. But the
government says it does not want such a strict legislation,"
"This is because the government is run on the basis of
corruption. There is a nexus between people`s representatives
and staff involved in corruption. Our demand is to bring all
offices under Lokpal," he said.
Lokpal should probe corruption complaints, Hazare said.
"At the state level, the government should not meddle
with the (institution of) Lokayukta. What we are seeking is
not beyond Constitution. We are not seeking to run a parallel
government," he said.
"How many IAS, IPS officers and how many ministers have
been jailed? The reason is that CBI is under the government.
Remove CBI from the government (control).
"An income tax officer can probe anyone, even the Prime
Minister. Why is it not done," he asked.
"When an MP asks for money to raise questions in Lok
Sabha, what will happen to this country," Hazare said.
The social activist suggested that boards should be put
up outside offices to indicate that office`s social
On the spiralling government expenditure, he said 75 per
cent of people`s money collected by the government is spent on
establishment costs. In the remaining 25 per cent, there is
corruption of 15 per cent, he said.