Guwahati, Wednesday, July 6, 2011
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Tripura to appoint a Lokayukta soon

 AGARTALA, July 6 (IANS): Tripura would soon appoint a Lokayukta (ombudsman) to check corruption among public functionaries and maintain transparency in governance, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said Wednesday.

"President Pratibha Patil has given her assent to the Lokayukta Act (as passed by the state assembly) and the necessary notification on this has been issued," Sarkar told IANS.

Sarkar, who also holds the law portfolio, said the non-availability of a sitting or retired high court judge was holding up the appointment of the the anti-corruption authority.

"Under the act, the Lokayukta would have the power to inquire and investigate charges of corrupt practices against elected representatives and public functionaries and recommend suitable action if found guilty," said the chief minister.

The elected representatives and public functionaries include the chief minister, ministers, members of the state assembly and elected representatives of local government bodies.

"If we get complaints of any irregularity in Tripura, even from an anonymous person, we will take action," he stated.

Sarkar, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, supported the inclusion of the prime minister in the proposed Lokpal bill that is to be tabled in the monsoon session of parliament beginning August 1.

"Corruption cannot be eliminated only by formulating laws. Government should go into the source of the fraudulent act. It is also surprising that the debate is now centered on whether the prime minister should be included or excluded from the (purview of the) Lokpal," he said.

The chief minister said : "To check the electoral malpractices, the poll expenses of all political parties should be spent from the national exchequer."

According to the Lokayukta Act unanimously passed by the Tripura assembly in November 2008, a sitting or retired judge of a high court will be appointed as the ombudsman by the governor in consultation with the chief minister, the speaker and the leader of opposition.

If anyone makes a false complaint against a public functionary, he would be punished with a maximum term of one year and/or a fine of Rs 5,000.

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