Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's attempt to amend the state Lokayukta bill in a bid to give more powers to the anti-graft watchdog in the state has failed to impress social activist Anna Hazare's team.
Key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the Bihar government's draft bill was a "copy of the much-criticised" Centre's Lokpal bill.
"We sincerely wish that Nitish Kumar ji brings a strong Lokayukta bill on the lines of Uttarakhand," Kejriwal said, reminding the chief minister of his June-30 commitment given to Hazare about a strong bill.
Kejriwal said according to the Bihar government's draft, "the selection, suspension and removal of the Lokayukta will be in government's control and therefore it will not be independent."
The draft also states that the Lokayukta will need permission from the government to investigate and prosecute any government officer, he pointed out.
"Punishment to a complainant if he files a frivolous complaint and punishment for a corrupt officer is the same (ranging from six months to five years)," Kejriwal said.
He expressed shock over the provision that "corrupt officers will get free legal assistance from the government against the complainant."
Another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said the proposed Lokayukta Bill of Bihar was a "replica" of the Centre's Lokpal against which they had all agitated. "Jan Lokpal Bill is an absolute necessity for standardisation," she said.
The Bihar government has decided to bring an amendment bill in the winter session of the state assembly and was hoping to win Team Anna's support on the lines of the Uttarakhand government.