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A file photo of lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Photo: Virendra Singh Gosain/HT
A file photo of lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Photo: Virendra Singh Gosain/HT

Prashant Bhushan attacks AAP over Lokpal bill

Bhushan says that 'contrary to the claims' made by the Arvind Kejriwal govt, the proposed legislation is 'completely' different from its previous version

New Delhi: Stepping up attack on the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the 2015 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, ousted party leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said that “contrary to the claims" made by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the proposed legislation is “completely" different from its previous 2014 version.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer claimed that the 2015 Bill increases the say of the government in the appointment and removal of the ombdusman and brings under its ambit Union government functionaries, among other “glaring" differences. In the wake of the claims by the Swaraj Abhiyan leader, AAP hit out at Bhushan and alleged that his attack goes on to prove the “collaboration" between him and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

But Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP for “anti-party activities", lashed out at the claim while likening Kejriwal to Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister under the infamous Hitler regime. Bhushan also dared the Delhi chief minister to an open debate on the matter. The Delhi government will table the Bill on Monday.

Releasing a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna’s Janlokpal draft, Bhushan said the Bill cleared by the current Delhi Cabinet was the “worst" of all. “What do they (AAP) think? Is this why they have increased publicity budget to over 500 crore? They should think of having a ministry of propaganda. It’s as if they have been trained by Joseph Goebbels. The new Bill is completely different from the one tabled in 2014," charged Bhushan.

The Delhi government has not officially released copies of either version of the Bill. Rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar had on Saturday made the 2015 Bill public, which he claimed to have got in his capacity as a member of the Delhi Assembly’s Business Advisory Committee. Meanwhile, functionaries in the AAP government, when contacted, refused to comment on the charges made by Bhushan at a press conference at his Noida residence.

Significantly, the 2015 Bill gives powers to the anti-graft ombdusman to inquire into and investigate allegations of corruption occurring anywhere in the “National Capital Territory of Delhi", thus bringing Union government functionaries under its ambit. The 2014 Bill, released by Bhushan, on the other hand, said that the Lokpal can investigate any matter either suo-motu or based on a complaint in respect of public servants.

It described public servant as someone who is serving in the connection with the affairs of the Delhi government and any such person whose services are “temporarily placed at the disposal of the Central government, the government of another state, the local authority or any other body."

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