The truth about ACB: PART 2

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!

#3. ACB has no powers to take up investigation against corrupt public officers independently and the Chief Minister will usurp all powers.

#3. The ACB will be a statutory authority to investigate graft offences, in addition to the existing Lokayukta. The ACB has been placed under the direct supervision of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) where a vigilance wing, headed by a secretary-level officer will be in charge of the new body and will report to the chief minister through the chief secretary.

ACB will be headed by an Additional Director General of Police-rank officer. It will have an IGP rank officer, 10 superintendents of police and a 322-member force. It has the powers to investigate corrupt officers, and doesn’t get usurped by the Chief Minister. This charge is misleading and only goes on to create anxiety among the people.

#4 Why is the ACB being formed at this time?

#4 Many serious concerns have been raised over the issue of the misuse of office by the Lokayukta, to effect police investigation, as was brought to light in the Bhaskar Rao case, where official power was blatantly misused.

In the past, the investigations conducted by the Lokayukta police wing into the PC Act offences have been questioned through writ petitions. The matter was agitated in the High Court and in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court settled this issue in Rangaswamaiah’s case and upheld the police investigations, but also upheld the autonomy of the investigation machinery.

There was an urgent need to correct the situation and strengthen the entire grievance redressal and anti-corruption mechanism by having two police wings: one for the Lokayukta and another for Anti-Corruption. The two wings will be independent and autonomous of each other; yet the Karnataka Lokayukta will continue to enjoy the power given under section 15(3) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act to utilize the services of any agency of the government including the newly created ACB. So this move will bring about division of powers and better coordination and improve accountability of legislative and investigative bodies in cases of corruption.

So, no matter how many layers of lies pile up, one pinch of logic is enough to decimate the hollow claims of the naysayers and rumor-mongers of the opposition.

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