The truth about ACB: PART 1

02aEver heard of the saying, “if you repeat a lie long enough, it comes to be known as the truth”. The paid media and the opposition have together sung so many lies regarding the Anti-Corruption Bureau in a rare musical coordination, hoping that they will be accepted as the truth.

The opposition has mounted a rabid baseless campaign to malign the Anti-Corruption Bureau and its formation by the Congress government. So under heaps of lies and misinformation spread by the BJP, let’s look at the real facts!

#1 Formation of the ACB will take away the powers of the Lokayukta

#1 The Karnataka Lokayukta Act 1984 (KLA) empowers the Lokayukta to inquire into complaints against public servants, but does not provide for criminal investigations into cases corruption by public servants and others. The Anti-Corruption Act 1988 (PC Act) provides for empowering police authorities with the powers to investigate crimes of corruption. Formation of the ACB will streamline powers of civil and criminal cases between the Lokayukta and the Anti-Corruption bureau. It needs to be remembered that even at present, the Lokayukta doesn’t have investigatory powers. Those powers lie with the Lokayukta police, which is a separate institutional body. So the argument that the ACB will take away powers from the Lokayukta is completely bogus, because its powers lie in the criminal domain, where Lokayukta doesn’t have any jurisdiction.

Further, if at all the opposition thinks that the structure of the ACB should be such that it promote greater transparency, then instead of the blind opposing, it should suggest positive measures to help create a stronger and more autonomous ACB. The opposition’s naysaying is part of the politics of blind negativity and antagonism.

#2 There is no need for ACB, because there is no confusion between the power of the Lokayukta and the Lokayukta police

#2). At present, the powers of investigation into crimes of corruption have been entrusted by the state government to the Police wing of the Karnataka Lokayukta. The lokayukta police wing has a dual responsibility of assisting the lokayukta under Section 15(1) of the KLA and investigating offences, under Section 17 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, on which the police have to act independent of the lokayukta.

This double responsibility of the lokayukta police emerges from the existence of two separate anti-corruption laws, which has resulted in the Lokaukta police coming under the supervision of the lokayukta, thus giving rise to confusion about roles and responsibilities of the respective institutions.

The formation of the ACB will clearly spell out the different roles and responsibilities of the Lokayukta and the ACB, to make the process of adjudicating and investigating cases of corruption more transparent and orderly.

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