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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Lokayukta, the State’s highest anti-corruption ombudsman organization has expressed interest to take over the reins of the State Vigilance department.

Issuing its first annual report, the Lokayukta has said that it will function more effectively in curbing corruption, if the Directorate of Vigilance of the Government which is currently under the ambit of the State government is put under the control of the Lokayukta.

‘This step of putting the Directorate of Vigilance under the Odisha Lokayukta will also ensure that investigation into corruption cases are more speedy, credible and free from political influences’ the Lokayukta mentioned in the annual report.

The anti-corruption watchdog cited concerns that it does not have any investigation agency of its own and, therefore, has to entrust the investigation to other agency. It has also sought appointment of two legal experts who can explain various welfare schemes of the government as well as instructions and guidelines related to their implementation apart from advising on various legal issues during hearings pertaining to such initiatives.

Highlighting that on many occasions, as State government officials do not respond to the notices, even though the proceedings are deemed to be judicial within the meaning of Section 193 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Lokayukta has suggested that for speedy disposal of the matters, the Government should consider to issue an advisory to all the Departmental Heads and other offices to promptly respond to the notices/instructions issued by it.

It also been proposed that a separate land of two acres with a building of 15,000 sq.ft. be provided for the proper functioning of the Lokayukta which now runs from a multi storied building at Toshali Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, also housing various other government offices like OHRC, State Election Commission, Odisha SCW etc.

In the yearly report, the Lokayukta has also urged the State government to immediately notify the following rules and regulations, which are pending consideration for long, for its proper functioning.

  • Odisha Lokayukta (Procedure of filing Complaint) Rules, 2019
  • Odisha Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2019
  • Odisha Lokayukta (Appointment and conditions of service of Secretary, Officers and staff) Regulations-2019

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