A week-long referendum held across the city by the India Against Corruption (IAC), Mumbai, revealed that 96% residents want independent Lokpal with government officials, politicians, judiciary and the prime minister under its ambit.
With a sample size of 1.04 lakh citizens, the opinion poll also revealed that the public wanted rigorous life imprisonment for corrupt officials.
“The opinion poll indicates the overall mood of the people and how badly they are demanding stringent anti-graft law,” said Mayank Gandhi, IAC Mumbai coordinator.
Gandhi and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi were addressing the media at Jai Hind College auditorium, Churchgate, on Saturday. They explained the difference between the government’s proposed Lokpal Bill and the civic society anti-graft bill.
“Since the past few days, our movement has been projected as an effort to build a parallel government. But that is not our intention and neither have we asked for the entire CBI to function under Lokpal,” explained Bedi. “We only want the anti-corruption wing of CBI to brought under Lokpal as it won’t be appropriate for two bodies to investigate one corruption case. It would be like two police stations for one area.”
Talking about whether the Prime Minister Office (PMO) should be in the purview of Lokpal, Bedi said: “Even today the PMO comes under the Prevention of Corruption Act of the Indian Constitution and doesn’t have any immunity. But under this act, the CBI, which directly comes under the prime minister, investigates any allegation. Hence we are demanding that the PM come under the Lokpal’s ambit so that an independent agency can carry out the investigation.”
Bedi also spoke about other issues of government’s proposed bill such as inclusion of all registered and non-registered non-government organisations under the Lokpal’s ambit. “The government proposed bill is a complete mockery of the law. It is better not to have such a law,” said Bedi.