Corruption watchdog threatens Anna-like campaign in WB
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011, 22:43
  
Kolkata: Taking a cue from the success of Anna Hazare's campaign for a strong Lok Pal Bill, a city-based corruption watchdog on Thursday threatened a similar agitation to demand suitable amendment to Lokayukta laws in West Bengal to give the institution more teeth.

"We will go for a long-drawn campaign if the state government fails to make suitable amendments to strengthen the Lokayukta laws to give the institution more teeth," secretary of 'Government-Civil Society Network for Good Governance' Subir Dey said at a press conference.

Dey said his organisation was sending a delegation to Governor M K Narayanan to press for the demand and was also giving memoranda to Left Front and Opposition leaders.

The Lokayukta Act was passed in West Bengal in 2003, but the notification appointing Justice Samaresh Banerjee, a retired judge of the Calcutta High Court, as the Lokaukta was issued only on February 1, 2006.

Justice Banerjee founded the 'Government-Civil Society Network for Good Governance' after assuming office to create public awareness about the Lokayukta.

The post of Lokayukta is remaining vacant since Banerjee relinquished the office on February 18, 2009.

Calling for an amendment of the Lokayukta Act to make it strong and vibrant, Justice Banerjee said the government must ensure equal representation from the administration and civil society for drafting the amendment.

He said the amendment should give punitive powers to the Lokayukta as the government often remained indifferent to the its recommendations of action against those found guilty of corruption after investigation.

Pointing out that an Amendment in 2007 in the Lokayukta Act required the Lokayukta to obtain prior permission of the competent authority to initiate the second stage of investigation against government officials, he said this has defeated the very purpose of setting up the institution of Lokayukta.

The Lokayukta must be given its own investigating agency and should be made independent in matters of administration. A consolidated fund for the Lokayukta must be provided for running the institution and paying of staff salaries and allowances, Banerjee said.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011, 22:43


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