Anti-graft activist Prashant Bhushan today alleged that the Centre was making attempts to “severely compromise” anti-corruption institutions to “protect” the influential. “The current government came to power on the plank of anti-corruption and promises of bringing back black money. “But what happened to that black money crusade? Now, from Lokpal to CBI and CVC (Central Vigilance Commission), attempts are being made to destroy these anti-graft institutions so that no probe can be done against the accused, including a few big corporates,” the senior Supreme Court lawyer alleged. Bhushan was answering questions from reporters during an anti-corruption rally — ‘Bhrastachaar se Azadi’ organised from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.
Addressing a crowd at Jantar Mantar later, Bhushan said, “Our demand is that the Lokpal be immediately appointed and the Whistleblower Act implemented at the earliest. We also seek an independent probe in (former Arunachal Chief Minister) Kalikho Pul’s suicide case.”
Raking up the issue of Sahara and Birla papers, on behalf of the activists, he also demanded that “a probe be held into the alleged payoff cases connected with the two corporate houses.”
In January, the Supreme Court had rejected a plea for a court-monitored SIT probe into bribery allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the basis of documents seized during the raids in business houses– Sahara and Birla– on the ground they had no evidentiary value.
He also hit out at Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP government for “just capitalising” on the anti-graft movement led by Anna Hazare six years ago.
“The party which is in power in Delhi also was born out of the anti-graft movement but Kejriwal and the AAP just benefited themselves, so we are starting this fresh anti-corruption movement, which will fan out to the corners of this country,” he said.
The rally was jointly organised by several activist groups, including Anti-corruption Team (Swaraj Abhiyan), National Alliance for People’s Movement, SFI, CITU and AIDWA.
Pul’s wife also took part in the rally and demanded constitution of a separate SIT to probe his suicide case and the allegations made in his long suicide note.
“Modi government has failed to operationalise the Lokpal an Lokayuktas Act. Three years after the Lokpal Act was passed by Parliament, no Lokpal has been appointed,” Bhushan said.
“The Prevention of Corruption Act is also being severely compromised. The Whistleblower Act which was passed in 2014 has not been operationalised has not been operationalised till date,” he claimed.
Bhushan also alleged that the Rafale defence deal was an “exorbitant” one and that prices were “later ramped up”.
Activist Aruna Roy alleged that a “conspiracy” is being hatched to “suppress” the voices of whistleblowers and activists, who speak against corruption.
A ‘ghotala rath’ with a man, personified as corruption, riding it, was also taken out during the rally.