Friday, March 10, 2017

Anti-corruption rally in Delhi seeks investigation into Kalikho Pul's "dying declaration", Sahara-Birla diary

By Our Representative
In an effort to create public opinion in favour of the campaign on charges of corruption in high places in the suicide diary of former Arunachal chief minister Kalikho Pul, several civil society organizations took out a rally in Delhi, culminating at Jantar Mantar, seeking “credible investigation” about facts mentioned in it.
Noted anti-corruption crusader and Swaraj Abhiyan president Prashant Bhushan, who is also a top Supreme Court advocate, told the rally that “there could be an ominous connection between Sahara-Birla diary and Pul's diary.”
Called Bhrashtachar se Azadi, the rally saw the late Arunachal chief minister’s widow, Dangwimsai Pul, saying that her husband in his dying declaration had “written in detail about corruption in politics and judiciary.”
“I'm not fighting for justice for only him but for all Indians”, she said, adding, “Instead of trying to suppress the evidence and dismiss it, we need a proper and independent investigation into it. BJP government is not investigating the allegations.”
A joint statement issued by civil society organizations in the wake of the rally by the organizers said, there is “lack of action on allegations of corruption contained in the Sahara-Birla diaries.”
It alleged, “The Sahara-Birla papers show that the Prime Minister was the largest recipient of black/bribe money (Rs 25 crore from Birla and Rs 40 crore from Sahara, as per the records presented to the Supreme Court.”
Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convenor of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPIR), said, the Modi government has “not implemented” two anti-corruption legislations – the Lok Pal law and whistleblowers’ protection law – and has instead “diluted these laws.”
Well-known right to information activist Aruna Roy, who is also a winner of the Magsaysay award, insisted, “The government is trying to silence us and stop us from speaking, from questioning, from expressing our views. We must fight together to protect our right to protest and resist.”
Others who spoke on the occasion included Yogendra Yadav, well-known political analyst, who is with the Swaraj India Party, and CPI-M leader Prakash Karat.
The statement – jointly issued by NCPRI, Bhushan-led Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR), Medha Patkar-led National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) and the anti-corruption team of Swaraj Abhiyan – said, “Instead of promulgating rules to operationalise the whistleblowers’ law, the government moved an amendment bill in Parliament in May 2015.”
Amendment, it says, “seeks to severely dilute the Act by removing safeguards available to whistleblowers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act”.
The statement further says, “The government has not reintroduced the Grievance Redressal Bill, which had the support of all parties including the BJP but lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014.”
Pointing towards “lack of action on allegations in the dying declaration of Kalikho Pul”, the statement said, Pul’s “shocking allegations of corruption against senior sitting and retired judges, lawyers and politicians need to be investigated in a credible manner.”

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