My dear friend,
I reviewed the Government`s Lokpal bill in great detail. I am deeply concerned and not to mention alarmed
with what I learned from it. Government has completely ignored the wishes of
the common man and made a mockery of our hard fought struggle for strong
anti-corruption laws. I have summarized the most troubling aspects of the
government version here and suggested possible steps that everyone of you can
take to help in this movement.
We had been demanding that an
institution called Lokpal should be set up for central government and a
Lokayukta should be set up for each state government through the same Bill.
Lokpal would receive and investigate corruption complaints against central
government employees and politicians. Lokayukta would do that job in respective
states. However, the Cabinet has rejected our demand. Only a few senior-most
officers in central government have been brought within the jurisdiction of
Lokpal. All officials and politicians in state governments have been left out.
What does that mean?
It means that rampant corruption
in Panchayat works would continue as it is. Through the use of RTI Act, many
people across the country have revealed how payments are routinely made for
ghost works. Check dams exist only on paper. List of beneficiaries of various
government schemes contain bogus names. Wages of poorest people are denied and
siphoned off under NREGA. Social audits in several states have exposed
corruption running into thousands of crores in NREGA. Medicines are routinely diverted
to black market from government hospitals. Teachers do not turn up in
government schools. They pay a part of their salaries to Basic Shiksha Adhikari
to mark their attendance. 80% of Rs 30,000 crores of ration subsidy is siphoned
off. People living below poverty line are turned away by ration shopkeepers
because their rations are diverted to black market. Much of this money reaches
the party coffers or the senior-most politicians. All this will continue even
after the enactment of government.s Lokpal Bill because all of this is outside
In cities, roads would continue
to break after a few months of being constructed. Flyovers would continue to
collapse. Streetlights will still not light up. Parks would continue to remain
dilapidated. The builders would continue to fleece ordinary consumers. You
would still need to pay bribes to get your passport or income tax refund.
Building plan will not be passed without a bribe. Government.s Lokpal Bill does
not cover any of this.
Adarsh Housing scam is not
covered under Government.s Lokpal. Reddy brothers will continue to loot our
mines and minerals. Commonwealth Games, Fodder scam, Taj Corridor Scam, Yamuna
Expressway scam, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha scam, Cash for vote scam . none of
these scams are covered under Government.s Lokpal Bill.
Members of Parliament and MLAs
would continue to take bribes to ask questions or vote in Parliament and
legislative assemblies because Lokpal would not have the powers to investigate
Prime Minister, Chief Ministers,
MPs, MLAs, municipal councilors, sarpanches, judges, all state government
employees, all Group B, Group C and group D employees of the central government
. all are out of the jurisdiction of Government.s Lokpal Bill.
Interestingly, if any citizen makes
a complaint of corruption against any official to Lokpal and if it lacks
adequate evidence, then as per government.s bill, the citizen would face two
years of minimum imprisonment. And the government would provide a free advocate
to the corrupt official to file a case against the citizen. But if the citizen
is able to prove that the official has indeed indulged in corruption, there is
just six months of minimum imprisonment. Therefore, rather than the corrupt and
corruption, the government bill is targeted against those who dare raise their
voice against corruption. In short, it discourages people from reporting acts
13 people, who had dared to raise
their voice against corruption, were murdered in the last one year. We had
demanded that Lokpal should have the powers and duty to provide protection to
such people. Government Bill does not have any such provision.
Government has retained its
control over CBI. So, CBI would continue to avoid taking action against a
future Raja until Supreme Court admonished them. Accounts of Quattrochis would
continue to be defrozen in secrecy against national interests. CBI would
continue to be used to arm twist Mayawatis, Laloo Yadavs, Jayalalithas and
Mulayam Singhs into submission. Corruption money would continue to be siphoned
off to Swiss accounts.
Government.s Lokpal Bill is also
unconstitutional. Prime Minister does not enjoy any immunity from
investigations under the constitution. Exclusion of Prime Minister from Lokpal
Bill is unconstitutional.
Selection and removal of Lokpal
members will be completely in the control of the government. Out of 9 member
selection committee, five will be from ruling establishment, thus effectively
giving powers in the hands of the government to appoint the most corrupt, pliable
and politically loyal people as Lokpal members.
High Courts and Supreme Court
would continue to take more than 20 years to dispose appeals in corruption
cases because our plea to set up special benches to hear such appeals has also
been turned down.
Government says that there are
1.25 crore government employees in the country. Government refuses to bring
them under Lokpal Bill because it would need large number of anti-corruption
staff to keep a check on them. Isn.t that an absurd excuse? India is a huge
country. Obviously, it has large number of employees. Can the government leave
them unchecked and allow them to loot the people and the country? Under law,
corruption is a crime . as heinous as murder or rape. If tomorrow, the
incidence of murders or rapes increases as much as we have corruption now,
would the government turn around and say that this country has 120 crore
population and since they would need large number of policemen to check crime,
they would not do it?
The country seems to be in the clutches
of highly corrupt people. It has been reported that in the Cabinet Meeting, the
Prime Minister, including some of his other Cabinet colleagues, kept pleading
that PM be included within the Lokpal Bill. However, the corrupt within the
Cabinet had the last say. The Prime Minister was rendered helpless, though one
wonders the reasons for his helplessness.
What are our options? Some people
feel that Anna is unreasonable. They say that an indefinite fast is a
brahmastra and should be used as a last resort. Haven.t we already reached the
end of the road?
Friends, I must confess that the
road ahead is extremely challenging. Government is on a path to try and crush
the movement at any cost. We need the active participation of every single
Indian in order to fight back. If the Government.s bill becomes law we are
literally gifting our country to the corrupt people to further plunder our
Like I have said before its now
Let every citizen in this country
take one week.s off from his normal work from 16th August, the day Anna starts
his indefinite fast, and take to the streets . in front of his house or at the
crossings or in parks . with a tricolor in his hands shouting slogans against
corruption. Let students take off from their schools and colleges. Let everyone
take to streets. If this happens, we will achieve our goal within a week.
Government can crush one Anna but it cannot crush 120 crore Annas. Government
can impose section 144 on one jantar mantar. But it cannot impose a curfew on
the whole country.
Can we count on you support to
participate in one final attempt to save our country from the corrupt?
India Against Corruption (IAC)