'Bill drafting on at snail's pace'

Govt representatives edgy on bringing SC, CVC under Lokpal: Kejrival

Sharing his experience with the drafting committee, Kejrival, also on the panel, said slow pace of work was delaying the preparation of the draft.

The members have not been able to meet frequently even as just a month is left to complete the task.

Kejrival was addressing a press meet with Lokyukta Justice Santosh Hegde, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi and social activist Swami Agnivesh at Indian Institute of Management here on Saturday.

To a query by the media, Kejrival said there were no differences among the members of civil society on the panel. “We can fight corruption if we stay united. It can’t be a movement of just four people. Every citizen of this country should get involved and fight against evil concept called corruption” he said.

He said some vested interests were attempting to scuttle the process by levelling false allegations. Earlier, the members of the panel were criticised, and now the proposed provisions of the Bill are being attacked, he said. He felt that lack of political will had become a hindrance in bringing back the black money stashed away in foreign countries.

3,000 suggestions

On hurdles faced by the drafting committee, he said at least 3,000 suggestions had been received via email and extensive consultation was being held across the country to incorporate the views of people.

Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde said in addition to Switzerland, there are 30 more tax havens. In October 2008, the Swiss government announced that apart from India, China, Russia, the US and Germany had stashed money in its country. India’s deposits totalled $1,456 billion and the money, if brought back, could be used for rightful purposes.

“It is strange that no legislation has been brought in the last two years to bring back the money.” Hegde said NGOs, religious institutions, trusts and educational institutions which collect donations from public won’t come under the purview of the Lokpal. Only government institutions are covered under the Bill.

To a query on whether the committee expected opposition in the monsoon session of Parliament when the Bill comes up for discussion, Hegde did not foresee any problem. He said those parties which support corruption will stand out by opposing it. However, Agnivesh expressed his apprehension that it may take more time to get it processed.

Reacting to criticism that only a handful of people draft the Bill, Hegde said, “In government, how many people get involved in drafting a bill? It is one or two officers who do the work. The Bill will not eradicate corruption but will help in controlling and reducing it”.

Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer, said media should understand the objectives of the Bill before writing about it. Anti-corruption movement is not against politicians but against the evil system of corruption. In the last 62 years, none discussed about a legislation which could fight corruption. India was a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Pressure from international organisations and civil society would force the country to have a Lokpal, she added.

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