Monday, June 24, 2024
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Resentment over Tripura Lokayukta

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AGARTALA: While appointment of Lokayukta in Tripura has evoked serious resentment in both political circle and civil society organisations, the social activists demanded resignation of Lokayukta Retd Justice P K Sarkar and to make amendments in Tripura Lokayukta Act 2008.

The opposition Congress has nailed the Lokayukta Justice Sarkar as ‘CPI-M agent’ and termed that it was a clear attempt to establish one party rule in the state and make corruption in institutional form.

”The Lokayukta does not have any power to institute investigation independently even against a patty public servant under the existing act, which is against the very sprit of anti-corruption law in India,” said Leader of the opposition Ratan Lal Nath.

Mr Nath stated despite strong objection from opposition Congress and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Left constituents- RSP and CPI, the state government had passed the act taking the advantage of majority count in the state Assembly.

”According to the act, if there is any complaint against the chief minister, it has to be voted by the majority members in the Assembly, which is never possible because the chief minister is the leader of the majority members. In case of any minister, it has to be consented by chief minister, any MLA has to be by the Speaker and not only that in case of a village chief, it has to be consented by the Panchayat Samity chief and in case of government employee, it has to be approved by the state cabinet,” Mr Nath said.

Moreover, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), two-third geography of the state and top level bureaucrats up to grade C had been kept out from the purview of Lokayukta Act, Mr Nath underlined, adding virtually Lokayukta did not have any power to investigate any corruption independently, since in every case it would require approval form the party in power.

Apart form that, Lokayukta would not even select the investigative agency or personnel independently, that also be selected by the state government, he pointed out and added, ”Lokayukta would not entertain any complaints of corruption, which was committed one year ago. It is shameful for the state as there are so many loopholes in the Act.” Meanwhile, several civil society organisations had opposed the appointment of Justice Sarkar as Lokayukta, stating he was not at all a good judge and he had indulged in corrupt practices during his tenure in both Guwahati and Gujarat High Court.

The leader of the anti-corruption movement in Tripura and leading advocate Sujit Datta criticised the government over selection of Justice Sarkar as Lokayukta and said during his High Court judgeship, Sarkar had given several judgments without hearing and in biased manner and he was known as a CPI(M) cadre in the state.

The implementation of Lokayukta has broadened the differences between RSP and CPI in Tripura who have representations in the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front Government. Forward Bloc, another ally of LF, has also supported the demand of amendment of the existing act and argued that the leftists in the country had been fighting always for a strong anti-corruption law but in Tripura Lokayukta Act was an exception, said the party leaders. (UNI)

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