Ahead of Parliament debate on Lokpal Bill, Team Anna today shot off an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and MPs wanting enactment of "real and best possible" anti-corruption law which should also provide for an independent investigative wing for the ombudsman.
In the letter that also came ahead of Anna Hazare's fast for a 'strong' Lokpal Bill in Mumbai from Tuesday, Team Anna noted that the year-long campaign against corruption has brought people to the very edge of legislation that can tackle the problem powerfully. The extended three-day session for Parliament will also start on Tuesday.
"Sensing the national mood, Parliament has also taken it upon itself to foster a significant debate on the issues within the Bill, and for this we thank our elected representatives.
"While we are on record with our displeasure over the current draft of the bill, we are also keen that the best possible law should now emerge from the debate in the people's Houses," the letter said.
"We urge Parliament's consideration and adoption of these points, to give the country a real anti-corruption law. Our opposition to various other provisions of the draft bill remains, and we will take up the fight for improvements to the legislation in the months and years ahead," Team Anna said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Narayanaswamy expressed confidence that that the Parliament will come out with a strong Lokpal Bill.
"...we will work in that direction and bring in a strong Lokpal Bill." he said, adding "They(Team Anna) should have patience, because they cannot go for cheap publicity by all these things.", a reference to the Mumbai agitation plans.
Team Anna urged MPs that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas must be able to suo moto initiate their own investigations, without a complaint or reference from anyone.
It should also not be required to alert the accused through preliminary enquiry or hearing before filing an FIR as recommended by the Standing Committee.
In this regard, Team Anna gave MPs three formulations for considertion and said one of them should be adopted.
"The anti-corruption branch of CBI should be merged into Lokpal, anti-corruption bureaus and state vigilance departments in state governments should be similarly merged into Lokayuktas or Lokpal and Lokayuktas should have their own investigative wings which should have exclusive jurisdiction over cases under Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Government's own previous draft of the Bill included the second provision," the letter said.
The third formulation was that the administrative and financial control over CBI should be with Lokpal and the appointment of CBI Director should be independent of any political control.
The anti-corruption bureaus and state vigilance departments in state governments should be merged into Lokayuktas, the letter said.
Team Anna also demanded that the Lokpal/Lokayukta's jurisdiction should include Class C and D officers directly. The government bill had mentioned that Lokpal will direct complaints against lower bureaucracy to CVC.
On the selection of the Lokpal, Team Anna said it should be through the consensus of the selection panel.
"Selection committee should consist of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, two judges to be nominated by collegium of Supreme Court judges, CAG, CVC and CEC. Search committee to suggest nominees should consist of former Chief Justices, Former CAG, former CVC and former CEC. A detailed selection procedure should be prescribed in the law itself," the letter said.
"We place before our MPs the following representations, in the expectation and hope that they will articulate this in Parliament and ensure passage of a Bill that contains these provisions.
Without these provisions, the Lokpal Bill will be just another law --one among many that have proven ineffective so far," it said.