Lokpal Bill In Present Form Not Acceptable, Says Karat

Thalassery, Kerala, Jul 29 :  CPI-M today slammed the Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet, describing it as ‘toothless' and said it was not going to serve the purpose of fighting corruption, maintaining that
lokpal bill in present form not acceptable says...
PTI 29 Jul 2011, 15:07:22 PM IST

Thalassery, Kerala, Jul 29 :  CPI-M today slammed the Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet, describing it as ‘toothless' and said it was not going to serve the purpose of fighting corruption, maintaining that the bill without including Prime Minister in its ambit was unacceptable.

The bill was a “betrayal” by Congress on its own commitment to bring in an effective Lokpal Bill to fight corruption, CPIM General Secretary Prakash Karat said, adding, the Left would step up its agitation for an effective Lokpal Bill.

“The bill is toothless and not an effective one to check graft cases,” he said after inaugurating the birth centenary celebrations of veteran Communist leader late C H Kanaran here.

There was no basis for the argument of some union ministers that once the bill was introduced in Parliament, it becomes a ‘property' of Parliament and agitation against it (bill) would be a stir against it, Karat said.

Criticising the Congress for excluding the Prime Minister from the purview of the Lokpal bill, he said that party had put forward the argument that including the Prime Minister would affect the stability of the government if any charges were made against him.

Countering the argument, Karat said even now Prime Minister was not immune to prosecution for corruption. The Prime Minister could be prosecuted under Prevention of Corruption Act, he pointed out.

Karat said Congress was ready to include Prime Minister in the ambit of Lokpal Bill when non-Congress governments were in power at the Centre in 1980,1990 and 2001.

But, now they were opposing it,he said.

Ridiculing the provision in the Bill that a Prime Minister could be prosecuted under Lokpal once the person demits office, Karat said “we should be thankful to Congress that the party had not suggested that a former Prime Minister could be prosecuted after that person had died”.

He said as far as corruption in judiciary was concerned, Left wanted a National Judicial Commission to deal with corruption in judiciary and reforms in electoral rules to check corruption in political system.

Karat said rules had to be made to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks by Indians.

Flaying the ‘neo-liberal' economic policies being implemented in the country for the past 20 years, he said corruption has become rampant and made inroads in all sectors due to “nexus” between politicians, bureaucrats and big corporate heads in the country.

The new economic policy had also undermined the land reform rules and widened inequality in the country, he alleged.

Discontentment among farmers and other working class was growing as many of the policies of the Centre and states were in favour of corporates and big business houses, he said. PTI

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