Case gets stronger for Anna Azare version of a powerful Lokpal Bill
With each passing day, the case for the Team Anna version of the Lokpal Bill is getting stronger, never mind what the more middle-of-the-road approaches may be.
The moral case for the Jan Lokpal can actually be stated in one line: it has to be fully independent of the government, with its own legal and investigative powers, since the party in government has no stake in its own downfall through the discovery of wrongdoing.
Consider where recent corruption cases have gone.
We are all celebrating the jailing of A Raja for the 2G spectrum scam, but India Today reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) case against Raja and others accused in the scam is falling apart. Two reasons why: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is claiming that there was no revenue loss due to Raja’s spectrum allotment at 2001 prices. This is exactly what Kapil Sibal claimed to save his political bosses. Secondly, the CBI has simply not been able to trace the money that Raja may have made in allotting spectrum in an arbitrary manner.
Question: Did the CBI really try hard or get at the truth or merely went with what was anyway available with the Comptroller and Auditor General report.
The Commonwealth scam investigation has made progress only where it is convenient to the powers that be. Thus a Suresh Kalmadi is in jail, but the people who spent larger sums – the Delhi government under Sheila Dikshit and the Union urban development ministry – are well outside the area of investigation. Even indictments by the VK Shunglu committee and the Comptroller and Auditor General have not led to a change in the direction of the investigation.
Question: Would a Jan Lokpal not have gone after wrongdoing in all places, instead of just people who were convenient scapegoats?
The cash-for-votes scam has seen the arrest of Amar Singh, former Samajwadi Party MP, who was batting for the UPA government during the 2008 trust vote. Two BJP MPs, who allegedly tried to entrap Amar Singh by offering themselves for a cross-over, have also been arrested. Even this happened only because of a public interest litigation, and strong queries from the Supreme Court asking why the Delhi police were going slow on the investigation. For three years, the Delhi police have not even tracked the money source, and not asked themselves why Amar Singh would be trying to bribe MPs if it were not to help the UPA.
Question: Is the Delhi police truly independent of political influence or is it merely incompetent?
The Satyam scandal happened two-and-a-half years ago. The CBI trial against B Ramalinga Raju is proceeding at a snail’s pace, while both the companies concerned – Satyam and Maytas – have been quickly given over to new owners (Mahindras and IL&FS). But no politician has been caught in the scandal. Now, however, the Congress is finding it useful to tie the can around YSR’s son Jagan Mohan, since he has chosen to defy India’s first family. Can land deals and defalcation happen without political support?
Question: How come the CBI has chased no politician in the Satyam scandal. Or has it been told to steer clear? The Congress government at the centre protected the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy since he was key to their return to power in 2009 – the year of the scandal.
The dethroning of BS Yeddyurappa in the wake of the Lokayukta’s report and the arrest of Janardhana Reddy by the CBI on Monday are proof that a strong institution insulated from political influence would work well. The CBI has worked well only when the interests of the political powers at the centre – in this case, the targeting of the BJP government for its well-deserved comeuppance in various scams – are in alignment with the cause of anti-corruption.
Question: How is it possible to argue for a strong Lokpal in Karnataka, but not at the Centre, or in Gujarat – where, too, the Congress wants one but not the BJP.
Net-net: They key to a successful Lokpal is independence from political influence – especially at the centre. There is a strong case for bringing both the CBI and the CVC under the Lokpal – even if they are assigned different policing areas. But we need to watch out: despite their differing political interests, both Congress and BJP have a convergence of interests in scuttling the Team Anna vision of the Jan Lokpal.
source from FIRSTPOST
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