Hyderabad: Lok Satta Party President and MLA
Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that the Lokpal at the
national level and Lokayuktas in states be armed with powers
to take up corruption cases suo motu.
Addressing a media conference on the Lokpal and Lokayukta
Bill now before Parliament, he pointed out that under the
present provisions in the Bill the ombudsman can take up cases
only when there are specific complaints. But many people may
refrain from lodging complaints because of the provision that
false complaints could attract a jail term of up to one year
and a fine of Rs 1,00,000, he said.
The ombudsmen should look into cases where circumstantial
evidence warrants an inquiry without waiting for a complaint.
None can make a specific complaint in cases like allocation of
the 2-G spectrum or award of contracts under `Jalayagnam` in
Andhra Pradesh, although it is public knowledge that they
reeked of corruption. Otherwise monumental cases of corruption
would go without a probe," Narayan, a former member of
Administrative Reforms Commission said.
For the ombudsmen to be effective, they should be provided
an independent intelligence wing. Only when the ombudsmen have
knowledge about issues, can they make rational judgements as
to the relative importance to be accorded to the cases before
them. Otherwise, trivial cases will dominate at the cost of
important cases of gross corruption of those in high office,
He said that although the Bill takes great care for the
selection of the CBI chief and other officials, it fails to
address the appointment of Anti Corruption Bureau Directors
and others in states.
"States have become the epicentres of corruption in the
post-liberalisation era. Of the total 2.2 crore government
employees in the country, states account for nearly 1.6 crore.
Of the 5,000 total legislators in the country, 4000 are in
states. Of the 700 ministers both at the Centre and in states,
600 are in states. For tackling corruption at the state level
which hurts a vast majority of people, the ACB should be
autonomous and independent and not be at the mercy of those in
power," the bureaucrat-turned politician said.
He felt that to fight corruption, more laws like the one
drafted by the Law Commission for attachment of the entire
property of the corrupt person, and another to go into cases
of collusive corruption are necessary.