CBI wary of anomalies in Lokpal Act

'Inconsistencies will render probe agency redundant'

The Central Bureau of India (CBI) has raised questions about the Lokpal Act, saying there are “anomalies and legal inconsistencies” that could result in the weakening of the agency and even make it redundant if even a single officer adopts corrupt practices during investigations.

In a letter to Department of Personnel Secretary S K Sarkar, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has sought clarifications from the Centre in the Lokpal Act and amended the Central Vigilance Commission Act in connection with its working.

Sinha said these needed to be thoroughly examined to avoid any litigation as otherwise the entire anti-corruption effort would be weakened.

The CBI has said that Section 38 is a provision to “divest such agency engaged or associated with the Lokpal of all powers” if an officer or employee of the office of the Lokpal or agency, engaged or associated, is likely to destroy or in any way tamper with the evidence, or influence witnesses in corruption cases.

Sinha has sought clarification as to whether for a wrongdoing of an officer, the entire agency can be divested of all powers and responsibilities.

He also referred to another Section 46 (i) of the Lokpal Act, which deals with punishment of those who make vexatious complaints, and said that this process should be initiated only after the individual against whom the complaint has been made approaches the competent court.

“It is suggested that in case a false, frivolous or vexatious complaint is made against the CBI, then the CBI Director should also be authorised to make such a complaint in the court,” Sinha said.

He also raised a peculiar situation where same complaint referred to the Lokpal and CVC, both of which issue directions to CBI. Sinha, in his letter, wanted to know which of the two directions would prevail.

He said Section 15 of the Lokpal Act provides that in case any matter under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been pending before any court, committee or authority, prior to commencement of this Act, such matter of proceeding shall continue before the same bench.

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