Bhushans attack Kejriwal on Lokpal draft, call it a joke

SansadTV Bureau

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Former AAP member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan launched a scathing attack on the Delhi government over its draft on the proposed Lokpal bill.

Bhushan accused Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal of playing the “biggest fraud” with the people by diluting the provisions of the Jan Lokpal draft of the Anna movement. Prashant Bhushan along with his father Shanti Bhushan demanded Kejriwal’s resignation over the issue.

“No activist or movement in India’s history has played such a big fraud with people. This will only ensure that the Central government does not approve and the Bill never gets passed. Kejriwal never had the intention to form a strong Lokpal body,” the former AAP leader said.

Bhushan read out certain provisions of the draft bill that is yet to be made public by the Delhi government. He claimed that Ministers and officials of the Centre were put under the ambit of the proposed legislation “deliberately” to provoke confrontation.

“We can now understand why this draft was kept under the wraps. The plan was to pass this maha jokepal Bill and then play victim by claiming that the Centre is obstructing it,” alleged Prashant Bhushan.

The duo claimed that by expanding the jurisdiction of the Lokpal, by proposing to bring Centre under its ambit was uncalled for and aimed at stoking another fight.

“In all the draft Lokpals that we have prepared till date, state Lokayuktas are not supposed to have any such powers,” Bhushan alleged.

Shanti Bhushan went on to call the draft bill a “mahajokepal”.

“Even the Centre’s Lokpal Act, which has been termed as jokepal by Kejriwal, is stronger than this Bill. This is a ‘mahajokepal’. Kejriwal must resign from office,” senior Bhushan lashed out.

Dissident AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who was also present at the press briefing which took place at Bhushan’s residence in Noida, claimed that he had managed to get hold of a draft copy of the bill in his capacity as a member of the Business Advisory Committee.

Going into the details, Bhushan questioned the appointment and removal processes of the Lokpal laid out in the bill, which was recently cleared by the AAP Cabinet, saying they would put the Ombudsman at the mercy of the city government.

The Bill purportedly says that a four-member selection committee, comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of Opposition and Delhi High Court Chief Justice would appoint the Lokpal, while the removal can be ensured by a motion in the Assembly with two-thirds majority, claimed Bhushan.

The duo also slammed the alleged provision which stipulates one-year imprisonment for false complaints, which they said will only deter complainants.

On Saturday afternoon, AAP held a press conference in Delhi where it accused the Bhushans of being hand-in-glove with the BJP.

“It was not a Prashant Bhushan press conference, but a BJP press conference….BJP is taking a loyalty test of Prashant Bhushan, like they did for VK Singh and Kiran Bedi…Now the BJP can offer him some high post in the BJP, just like VK Singh and Kiran Bedi were offered,” alleged Raghav Chadha, the spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Earlier in the day, AAP’s Kumar Vishwas tweeted defending their proposed draft.

“We are committed to the Lokpal exactly what Was drafted and committed at Ramlila Maidan; not even a comma/ full stop changed….If any scope of betterment is there, it will be thoroughly discussed in the house by the elected representatives of Delhi,” said Vishwas in a series of tweets.

(With inputs from PTI)