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Corruption watchdog threatens Anna-like campaign in WB

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

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.


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

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