Home STATE CIVIL SOCIETY Why AAP mum on Odisha Lokayukta Bill, RTI activist asks Yogendra Yadav

Why AAP mum on Odisha Lokayukta Bill, RTI activist asks Yogendra Yadav

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Feb 16:

Well-known RTI activist and convener of the Odisha Lokayukta Abhijan Pradip Pradhan today dashed off an open letter addressed to senior AAP leader and psephologist Yogendra Yadav asking him to explain why AAP and more specifically its Odisha unit  has kept mum over the toothless Odisha Lokayukta Bill which was passed without any public consultation,

The letter is being reproduced below, word by word.

RTI Activist Pradip Pradhan, Petitioner
Pradip Pradhan

“Respected  Jogendra Yadavjee

“Yesterday night I received a message  from APP Odisha  Chapter  with an appeal “ to come to streets and organise local March  in  your local area now  to protest  BJP & Congress plan against Jan Lokpal in Delhi”.  It meant that  the people of Odisha  would come out  to  voice their protest  against the conspiracy of BJP  and Congress to  stall the   Jan Lokpal  Bill  in  the Legislative Assembly of  Delhi.

“But, as you might know, for last   two  days , Odisha Legislative Assembly  debated  and discussed  Odisha Lokayukta Bill, 2014  and passed it  on 14.2.14. Tabled by the ruling BJD, the toothless Bill was passed unanimously thanks to the unholy complicity of the MLAs belonging to Congress and BJP.

“It needs to be mentioned here that though various civil society groups  and social activists allied under the banner of Odisha Lokayukta Abhijan  had urged the Government of Odisha   for holding a public  consultation on the proposed Odisha Lokayukta Bill before its tabling in the Assembly,  the BJD-led Govt.  simply avoided   this democratic route and  rushed it through in a hot haste so as to get it passed in the Assembly under any circumstances ignoring the concerns of civil society groups.

“As is well known by now the Bill so passed suffers from a grave anomaly, which would render the Lokayukta  absolutely toothless against any complaint of corruption lodged against the politicians or bureaucrats close to the ruling party. Because, the Lokayukta Bill has left untouched    the Directorate of Vigilance, the chief investigating agency of the State, which remains to this day under the absolute control of the State Government in respect of posting, transfer and appointment of personnel and even day-to-day functioning.

“It was urged by the civil society groups that in line with the provisions made in the Central Lokpal Act for freeing the CBI from the clutches of Government the State Lokayukta law should provide for making the Directorate of Vigilance a truly independent and autonomous body in respect of its day-to-day administration, and accountable only to Lokayukta as its monitoring and reporting authority in respect of overall functioning.

“It was specifically suggested by the civil society groups that in order to meet the said goal of a truly transformed Vigilance, the Director of State Vigilance ought to be appointed by a 3-member Selection Committee comprising Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Chief Justice of High Court, just as the Director of CBI is now required to be appointed by a 3 Member Selection Committee comprising Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Chief Justice of Supreme Court as per the Central Lokpal Act 2013.

“Secondly, the Director Vigilance so appointed, would appoint other officers and employees from the panel of suitable names sent by the Government. This suggestion is also in line with the provisions made in the Central Lokpal Act. Now that the freshly enacted Odisha Bill has allowed the Directorate of Vigilance to remain a subservient tool of the State Government as before, there is no guarantee that it would act impartially to fix a Minister, MLA  or bureaucrat close to the ruling class while inquiring or investigating into any charge of corruption leveled against them even if such cases of corruption might have been referred to the Vigilance by the Lokayukta itself for the purpose of inquiry or investigation.

“As you might know, the recently released Interim Report of Shah Commission inquiring into the mining scams of Odisha has opined that the Directorate of Vigilance is incapable of conducting any impartial probe into any case of corruption against the politicians and bureaucrats enjoying the good book of the ruling power.

“Thus, there is a widespread disappointment among the civil society activists across the State due to the fact that despite their concerted advocacy for transforming the subservient Vigilance wing of the State into an independent and autonomous agency, the freshly passed Odisha Lokayukta Bill has left it as it had remained over decades since its inception in 1944.

“Ironically on 13.2.14, when  you were addressing an AAP Rally at Lower PMG Square, Bhubaneswar,  just a few meters away  from the State Assembly, the members of that house were  debating the  Odisha Lokayukta Bill, 2014.

“But, surprisingly you did not utter any single word on the Odisha Lokayukta  Bill, let alone its serious loopholes.

“May  be, the local leaders of your party  have not  updated you in this matter. Or maybe, the local leadership of your party  are not either aware or concerned about the said Bill. Be that as it may, several pro-AAP persons like me who attended and heard your speech on that day were taken aback at the missing of any reference to Odisha Lokayukta Bill from your speech, especially in view of the fact that while your party could stake the Government and chief ministership  in Delhi for the sake of Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, you or your party here in Odisha are not at all bothered about the Odisha Lokayukta Bill.

“Moreover, let me frankly state before you that while we invited the AAP volunteers of Odisha to be involved in the series of consultations  and dharana demanding a public debate on the Odisha Lokayukta Bill,  they not only remained aloof but also refrained from voicing any concern about it in any media or meeting.

“From this persistent indifference of AAP people it transpired that the local outfit of AAP was afraid of exposing and fighting corruption in Odisha no matter how much vociferous the national leadership of AAP might be on the issue corruption in general and that of Jan Lokpal Bill across the country in particular.

“However, the same persons of  AAP Odisha who turned deaf ears to the Odisha Lokayukta Abhijan  are now found appealing to us to join hands with them to  protest against the BJP and Congress  for blocking the passage of  Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi.

“What a great irony, indeed!

“Looking forward to a response,

Regards,

Pradip Pradhan

On behalf of Odisha Lokayukta Abhijan, Bhubaneswar

M-99378-43482 “

4 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr. Prdhan, On reading your letter to Mr. Yogendra Yadav I found that as per your view Odisha Lokayukta Bill got through in Odisha Assembly because of nexus of Congres and BJP. I may ask you how the opposition parties only will be blamed and not the ruling party who drafted it and placed it before the esteemed house.
    So far AAP is concerned on watching proceeding of Delhi Assembly on television what I got that the State Govt. had not obtained sanction of L.G. They were arguing that if the Bill would have sent for sanction of L.G. that would not have got required sanction. However the L.G. had sanctioned other 3 Bills to be tabled on same Session and which were passed in the Assembly. So if 3 Bills could be sent for sanctioned why not 4th. Bill? Rather it shows that Mr. Kejriwal and his team had made up their mind to quit with a strong plea so that they can go for another poll with an issue.
    I further say that Mr. Kejriwal and his team is serious of Delhi only. State like Odisha is neither their priorities nor in their agenda. They have come here just to collect some members who can join their shouting brigade. So the people of Odisha shall not expect from such group. If we have guts we the people can fight for a proper Anti-Corruption Act and I am sure we will get it soon with a combined, peaceful, democratic crusade against injustice, nepotism and insensitivity of legislators.
    Thank you.

  2. It’s not Odisha Lokyukta Bill OR JokeYukta Bill, It’s Odisha Toothless Lokyukta Bill

    I fully agree with your opinion, most probably the local leaders of Aam Admi Party have not briefed Professor Yogendra Yadav about Toothless Odisha Lokyukta Bill, there are several reasons to do so and those are :-

    1. Local Leaders of AAP may not be interested in this vital and important issue.

    2. Local Leaders of AAP may not be having any knowledge regarding Odisha Toothless Lokyukta Bill.

    3. Local Leaders of AAP may be strongly supporting Odisha Toothless Lokyukta Bill to please the present government.

    4. Local Leaders of APP may not be willing to co-operate various Civil Society people to oppose Odisha Toothless Lokyukta Bill because they might be having fear in their mind that their position in AAP in Odisha would be hampered.

    5. Local Leaders of AAP may not be having the capacity to raise their voice against any issue in Odisha.

    I have seen when thousands of RTI Activists had raised their voice against the disdainful activity of former Information Commission Sri Jagadananda towards RTI Act, most of the local leaders of Aam Admi Party internally supported Sri Jagadananda and never raised their voice against Sri Jagadananda hence this type of disgraceful act of these leaders raised a lot of doubt in the mind of lakhs of people in Odisha and now the burning example is Odisha Toothless Lokyukta Bill.

    I hope in future the Local Leaders of Aam Admi Party will rectify their mistake and honestly work for the people of this state.

    With Regards
    JAYANTA KUMAR DAS (RTI ACTIVIST), 9861770749(M),
    PURI, ODISHA.

  3. AAP Candidates/leaders do not know or interested in Lokayukata Bill.They even not interested in Mega mining scam & Mega Chit Fund Scam in Odisha.They are only interested to win the election in name of Arvind Kejriwal .

  4. Before AAP is made Arvind Kejriwal had come Bhubaneswar to address a meeting of IAC.When he is asked to give his comments regarding mining scam in Odisha he refused to give any positive or negative comment.it is a fact that some Sources alleged that Arvind has collected huge amount of funds from Jindal l& other mines related corporate houses.Public interest of Odisha & India is not so important for him.I Suspect.

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