New Delhi: The anti-corruption institution has demanded more powers for the Lokayukta (ombudsman) to probe graft cases against government officials. The demand comes in the wake of Delhi Government’s plan to review powers of the Lokayukta.

Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin said that the institution should be given powers of search and seizure besides granting financial and administrative autonomy for its effective functioning.

Asked about the government mooting to re-examine powers of the Lokayukta, Sarin said, “The Chief Minister has been asked to recognize the institution as an aid for bringing about probity in administration rather than an obstacle.”

“Why does the Chief Minister feel or think that power and jurisdiction of the Lokayukta needs to be curtailed?” he asked.

Sarin said, “I look at the situation in a different perspective. I do not find any conflict in the roles of the Lokayukta and the Chief Minister. In states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the Lokayukta is a separate investigating wing, in which team of police officials is headed by DGP.”
However, in the Delhi Act, there is no power for search and seizure, he said.

Justice Sarin said while investigating a case of disproportionate assets, you are required to act quickly. “But in the absence of adequate powers, the Lokayukta has to seek help of private investigator or other agencies to carry out the probe,” he said.

Notably, unhappy with the Lokayukta’s recommendations over the removal of a minister in tax evasion case, the CM Shiela Dikshit is planning to review the powers of the watchdog so as to bring in transparency.



READ MORE: Campaign for effective Lokayukta gains momentum