As the final round of talks between the government and the civil society failed, Anna Hazare sharpened his attacks on the government Wednesday, calling corruption and politician-bureaucrats nexus a bigger threat than Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, the noted social activist refuted government’s charge of trying to float a parallel government, saying, “We don’t want a parallel government. We want an autonomous Lokpal on the lines of Election Commission and Supreme Court which are out of the government’s direct control.”
He accused the government of trying to divert the people’s attention from the main issue by bring up talks about a parallel government.
Anna questioned government’s intention to curb rampant corruption in the country saying, “Why is the government not agreeing to bring CBI and other investigative agencies under Lokpal’s ambit? It seems government is not serious about corruption.”
Anna strongly demanded to put the whole bureaucracy under Lokpal’s ambit and also seemed disapproving of bringing NGOs under its purview. He went on to allege that the government didn’t want a strong Lokpal as it lacks will power and also as it didn’t want to end corruption in the country.
Speaking at the press meet, former IPS officer and a prominent member of Team Anna, Kiran Bedi said, “There is nothing for the common man in the government’s version of the bill. The common man is directly concerned with the lower bureaucracy but the government’s version of the bill only covers higher bureaucracy.”
Bedi added, “Government’s Lokpal won’t be able to solve the problems of the common man as it has no mechanism to lodge a direct complaint.”
She also asserted that the CVC and the CBI should come under Lokpal’s ambit, saying, “The CBI reports to the government so it cannot function independently.”
Also present was Arvind Kejriwal, who raised questions over government’s intentions saying, “It is not clear that for whose corruption, the government’s Lokpal Bill is. Though the bill covers 65000 government officers, more than 15 lakh NGOs come under its purview. Government should make it clear that whether it is for checking the corruption of bureaucrats or the NGOs.”
Earlier yesterday, the ninth and the final joint panel meeting on Lokpal was held at the office of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, chairman of the drafting committee. Except Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was in Jammu and Kashmir, all the other nine members had attended the meeting.
Sources said that the civil society draft contains contentious proposals like inclusion of the Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament within the ambit of the Lokpal.
It also seeks jurisdiction over the CBI and state Lokayuktas.
The civil society draft has a provision relating to the panel for the selection of Lokpal and his removal in which a citizen has the right to move the Supreme Court.