Hegde apprehensive over final outcome of Lokpal Bill

Bangalore: Karnataka Lokayukta and a member of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee Santosh Hegde on Saturday said he was apprehensive about the final outcome of the proposed bill as it could be a watered down version of what was originally envisaged.

"The discussion on the bill is nearly over and after the last meeting…of what you read between two parties, they do not seem to see eye to eye and hence I am apprehensive of the outcome of this effort," a candid Hegde told PTI here.

"They will a bring a bill for a certain, but how strong the bill is going to be is a question," the former Supreme Court judge, who represents civil society on the Lokpal panel, said.

Expressing his doubts, he said, "They do not want the PM to come under its scope, they do not want the judiciary, they do not want military purchases being investigated nor the central government employees nor the corrupt conduct of MPs outside the House but having implications inside House."

On the CBI being kept out of the RTI Act, he said, "Today they want to keep out CBI, tomorrow it will be the police". Once an investigation was over, there could be sharing of data to ensure transparency, he opined.

However, he was of the opinion that the current strong anti-corruption feeling would have some bearing on elections.

"One day the government will realise they had got an opportunity to earn a good name, but that they had missed the bus," said the Lokayukta.

Hegde said he did not believe that such a bill could completely eradicate corruption but it would certainly aid in controlling graft.

"Just because there are police stations, has crime been eradicated? No, but police stations help control crime.

Just like the presence of hospitals does not mean complete eradication of diseases," he said illustrating his point.

But the Lokayukta was all in favour of the anti- corruption crusader Anna Hazare continuing his battle against graft. "Annaji must continue his fight against corruption, personally. He must not go on any hunger strike immediately.

He must go around the country and inform people about the consequences of corruption and on development.

"He is the right person to do so," said Hegde, adding that post-retirement he would lend all his support to Anna.

Hegde said he would not quit the committee but would not be present in the last two meetings owing to prior engagement, he said.