Will fight for improvement in govt’s Lokpal: Team Anna

Team Anna, led by Anna Hazare, in the open letter said they are "keen that the best possible law" emerges from the debate in the "people`s Houses".

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2011, 16:13 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Team Anna shot off a fresh open letter to the Prime Minister and MPs on Sunday, demanding changes in the government version of the Lokpal Bill presented in Parliament.

Team Anna, led by Anna Hazare, in the open letter said they are "keen that the best possible law" emerges from the debate in the "people`s Houses".

India Against Corruption, the umbrella body under which the campaign for a strong Lokpal has been launched, said although their opposition to some portions of the bill introduced in Parliament remains, they want parliamentarians to include some of their points too.

In the letter, Team Anna noted that the year-long campaign against corruption has brought people to the very edge of legislation that can tackle it powerfully.

"Sensing the national mood, Parliament has also taken it upon itself to foster a significant debate on the issues within the Bill, and for this we thank our elected representatives.

"While we are on record with our displeasure over the current draft of the bill, we are also keen that the best possible law should now emerge from the debate in the people`s
Houses," the letter said.

"We urge Parliament`s consideration and adoption of these points, to give the country a real anti-corruption law. Our opposition to various other provisions of the draft bill
remains, and we will take up the fight for improvements to the legislation in the months and years ahead," Team Anna said.

“The Lokpal and Lokayuktas must be able to suo moto initiate their own investigations, without a complaint or reference from anyone. It should also not be required to alert the accused through preliminary enquiry or hearing before filing an FIR (this is as recommended by the Standing Committee),” Team Anna said in its letter.

“The Lokpal and Lokayuktas must be able to carry out independent investigations, through any one of the following mechanisms,” the letter says further.

Team Anna in their letter has suggested three options on the most sticking point over the Central Bureau of Investigation role in Lokpal Bill:

1. The anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal, anti-corruption bureaus and state vigilance departments in state governments should be similarly merged into Lokayuktas.

2. Lokpal and Lokayuktas should have their own investigative wings which should have exclusive jurisdiction over cases under Prevention of Corruption Act, (the Government`s own previous draft of the Bill included this provision).

3. The administrative and financial control over CBI should be with Lokpal and the appointment of CBI Director should be independent of any political control. The anti-corruption bureaus and state vigilance departments in state governments should be merged into Lokayuktas.

On the selection of the Lokpal, Team Anna said it should be through the consensus of the selection panel.

"Selection committee should consist of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, two judges to be nominated by collegiums of Supreme Court judges, CAG, CVC and CEC. Search committee to suggest nominees should consist of former Chief Justices, former CAG, former CVC and former CEC. A detailed selection procedure should be prescribed in the law itself," the letter said.

"We place before our MPs the following representations, in the expectation and hope that they will articulate this in Parliament and ensure passage of a Bill that contains these
provisions.

Without these provisions, the Lokpal Bill will be just another law - one among many that have proven ineffective so far," it said.

Anna Hazare will sit on a three-day fast from December 27 at MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai, following which he will start his ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ from December 30 and continue till January 1.

Also from December 27-29, Parliament is going to debate the Lokpal Bill.