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Lokayukta urged to take action

Bharatiya Suraaj Dal, a newly constituted political party, on Monday called upon Lokayukta retired Justice Amreshwar Sahay to either quit or start using the power vested to him under the Jharkhand Lokayukta Act to curb corruption.

Speaking to mediapersons in Ranchi, P.K. Siddharth, president of Bharatiya Suraaj Dal, said the only institution in the state that could effectively take steps to curb the increasing corruption at all levels was the Lokayukta.

“Lokayukta is the only institution that is independent of the government. Unfortunately, in Jharkhand, the Lokayukta has failed to do anything significant against the high and the mighty. He is found to have taken suo motu cognisance of offences committed by petty officials, but is yet to take note of specific matters involving the ministers,” Siddharth said.

The former IPS officer further said that except the chief minister, the Lokayukta could investigate any other minister and bureaucrats, including the chief secretary, director-general of police and principal chief conservator of forests. He agreed that though the Lokayukta didn’t have an independent investigation wing under him, he need not depend on government agencies like the CID and vigilance bureau to conduct probes. He is fully empowered to create his own legal wing under the Act, Siddharth added.

The Dal president further demanded that the Lokayukta constitute teams to inspect buildings, roads, ponds, examine their construction and reconstruction cost and undertake investigations into appropriate cases.

Retired Justice Sahay rubbished the allegations levelled against him as biased and unfounded.

“I had taken over charge as the Lokayukta on January 3, 2011. In the past three years, I have been demanding creation of an independent investigation wing under my control. The state government has declined to accede to my request. I am therefore left with no option but to depend on government agencies like the vigilance bureau and the CID to carry out investigations into cases referred by me,” Sahay told The Telegraph.

He added that there were cases when he had not been satisfied with the probe reports submitted by the deputy commissioner of the district concerned. “To get to the root of the matter, I have sometimes despatched my own departmental secretary to carry out investigations though such a practice cannot be followed in every case,” Sahay pointed out.

When asked if he could create a separate investigation wing, the Lokayukta pointed out that no funds were allotted to him to hire retired CBI officers. “Hiring retired CBI officers and then asking the state government for funds would be counter-productive since the delay in paying the investigators will adversely affect morale of the team as a whole. We are doing the best under the prevailing circumstances,” he explained.