Without CBI, Lokpal a mere complainant: Hegde

Bangalore: Criticising government's move to keep CBI out of the purview of Lokpal, Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde Wednesday said the step would reduce the anti-corruption watchdog to a mere complainant which is not acceptable.

"This is unacceptable totally because now they are trying to make the Lokpal institution just a complainant, not an investigative agency", the former Supreme Court judge said.

Lokpal Bill was cleared last night by the Union Cabinet.

The new Bill will be a Constitution amendment Bill which will also bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal with certain riders.

The Bill, however, keeps the CBI out of purview of Lokpal except on cases which are referred to it by the latter. The Lokpal will have its own wings for preliminary inquiries and prosecution.

"From what I read in newspapers, the Lokpal institution which is going to be headed by top-level people can only enquire, then investigation is handed over to the CBI. CBI, in turn, is answerable to the Government. It does not come under Lokpal. Therefore, what's the role of Lokpal? Only an enquiry officer?", the former Karnataka Lokayukta said.

With this move, the CBI would only become "all-powerful", he said.

"If a complaint is given by the Lokpal, then that investigation will be conducted by CBI. This means Lokpal has become an ordinary complainant which will go to CBI and lodge a complaint and CBI will then investigate in the manner it likes and Lokpal will have no control in investigation part of it. This is not acceptable", Hegde said.