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Lokayukta changes strategy to tackle graft

By Our Special Correspondent

NAVALGUND, (Dharwad dt.), April 4. The Karnataka Lokayukta has changed its strategy in dealing with corruption in the administration.

The Lokayukta, N. Venkatachala, talking to presspersons here today as he began a four-day tour of Dharwad district, said he has instructed his staff to file cases against those charged with corruption under the Prevention of Corruption of Act.

Mr. Venkatachala said that the new strategy had to be evolved because corrupt officials did not pay heed to the advice given by the Lokayukta so far.

The Lokayukta has asked the Government to amend the Lokayukta Act and give it powers to initiate action on its own. Meanwhile, the police have been asked to file cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said.

Upa Lokayukta

Replying to questions, he said the appointment of an Upa Lokayukta by the Government is not an impediment to his campaign against corrupt officials. "As a matter of fact, we have been working to complement each other," Mr. Venkatachala said.

The Lokayuktas of the all the States have taken up with the Prime Minister and others concerned the need to have uniform Lokayukta legislation all over the country for effective functioning.

No Act in any other State is as good as the one in Karnataka. Only some changes are needed. A draft uniform legislation has been prepared and sent to the Union Government, Mr. Venkatachala said.

Steps have been taken to file charge sheets in the pending cases, especially those pertaining to the acquisition of assets disproportionate to the known sources of income. About 100 cases have been charged, he said.

Decentralisation

On the decentralisation in the working of the Lokayukta, Mr. Venkatachala said the Superintendents of Police of the Lokayukta have been given more powers to take action.

He said he is not interested in seeking the suspension of officials caught during his visits to government offices. Suspension was no punishment at all.

Nowadays, reports that the Lokayukta will be visiting a particular district bring about a change in the ground situation, with efforts made to update information and files. To that extent, his visits are useful, he said.

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