BANGALORE: Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev on Wednesday appealed to the Union government to arm the Jan Lokpal Bill with punitive powers.
He said it would become another toothless agency like Lokayukta in the absence of such powers. Speaking at a 'Meet the Press' programme organised by Bangalore Press Club and Bangalore Reporter's Guild, Ramdev said the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill should not follow Lokayukta Act, which, according to him, is a toothless organisation. Since the Lokpal Bill was the first and a big step in curbing corruption, the government should arm it with sufficient powers, he demanded.
The Lokpal should enjoy autonomous status like Supreme Court and there should not be any restrictions on common people to file FIR against the corrupt. This apart, the Lokpal should also have the power to recover money swindled by the corrupt and punish them with life imprisonment or death sentence, Ramdev said.
He said even the prime minister should be brought under the purview of Lokpal. "I want the committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, and they should fight for powers to the Lokpal," Ramdev said.
He refused to be drawn into the controversy that he had started on the composition of the committee. "Fight against corruption is a long and sustained one. I do not wish to derail this struggle by making any comment on the composition of the committee. I reserve my comment for some time," Ramdev said.
He had objected to father and son Shanthi Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan finding places in the committee. Irked by this, Anna Hazare, who was responsible for formation of the committee, had requested Baba not to create any controversy, fearing the consequences.
"I have always respected Hazare as an elderly and a right thinking person. There is a mutual trust between us. I hope the trust always remains," Ramdev said
Ramdev said he would launch a nationwide agitation against corruption after the conclusion of his ongoing Bharat Swabhiman Movement in June at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
"Through the agitation, we will make the Union Government withdraw higher denomination of currencies from circulation to check black money and also stop Mauritius route, which is a heaven for tax evaders," he said.
Sai Baba's trust takover? No
Baba Ramdev said he would oppose any move by the government to take over Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust run.
Speaking to reporters at a 'Meet the Press' on Wednesday, Ramdev said no government had the right to take over any trust run by private people. He was reacting to the rumours that Andhra Pradesh Government would take over the trust run by Saibaba who is critically ill.
"I will be the first person to protest if the government tries to take over the Sathya Sai Trust," he said.