Cong for strong Lokayukta in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Apprehending dilution in the proposed Lokayukta Bill to be introduced in the Odisha Legislative Asssembly next month, a senior Congress leader asked all opposition parties and civil society to work together to defeat any attempt of passing a weak legislation.

“Opposition parties and groups need to agree to an ‘issue-based unity’ if Naveen Patnaik has to be stopped,” Niranjan Patnaik said in a statement.

In a related development Niranjan in a fresh missive to the Chief Minister said that there is an attempt to rush through such an important law in an unrealistic time-frame of one month.

He has demanded that the proposed bill be placed in the public domain for a proper discussion on its provisions.

Reiterating the demand that the State Vigilance be brought under the control of the Lokayukta, the senior congress leader has said that the existing Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 also places the Chief Minister and the other Ministers under the purview of the Lokpal and nothing will be gained if the same provision is restated in a new law using a slightly different language and nomenclature.

The State Government has a unique opportunity to walk the talk and make the law credible by entrusting the Lokayukta with real teeth in the like manner that the Central Government has done in the Lokpal Act, 2013 by placing the CBI under the Lokpal, he said.

“If the Lokayukta has no investigating agency under it, hardly can the proposed institution deliver. We have seen how a Lokpal with powers only to make recommendations performed since 1995. Do we need more of the same?,” he said.

“There is no point in enacting a farce in the name of an anti-corruption law, if it is placed in a diluted manner,” stated the senior Congress leader.