New Delhi: Former Prime Minister HD Deve
Gowda on Friday asked the civil society members of the joint
drafting committee of Lokpal Bill not to quit from it in the
wake of an alleged campaign against them by "vested interests"
who want to "divert the focus" from the Bill.
Gowda said he was "pained to learn from media reports
that Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde is
reconsidering his decision to be on the committee."
Criticizing the "forces trying to sideline the real issue
of rampant corruption," Gowda said it was not fair to question
the honesty and the integrity" of the members after formation
of the committee.
"All these allegations are to sideline the issue of
bringing a very powerful weapon (against corruption). The
issue should not be sidelined," he said.
Describing corruption "a cancerous disease", Gowda said
it was Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa who tried to
"clip the wings" of Justice Santosh Hegde from taking action
against his corrupt dispensation.
"In Karnataka, the Lokayukta cannot move without the
prior permission of the government," Gowda alleged.
"Hon’ble Justice Hegde has never hesitated from calling a
spade a spade and he remains an outstanding crusader against
corruption, whether it be committed by the BJP government in
Karnataka or the UPA government at the Centre," he said.
"It is my humble appeal to one and all, including the
media, not to derail this great golden opportunity to draft
and bring about a much-needed and highly effective Lokpal Bill
by raising petty issues, totally irrelevant to the ongoing
process," he said.
"Any such attempt to divert the focus from the Bill,
which has been pending for over four decades, would only serve
to strengthen the hands of the vested interests, who want to
dilute the process," he added.