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Swaraj Abhiyan to launch agitation against ‘mahajokepal’

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New Delhi: Calling upon the people to raise their voice against the “toothless” Delhi Lokpal Bill 2015 introduced by the AAP government, the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj Abhiyan has decided to launch an agitation if the Bill is passed in its current form.

Yadav called upon one and all to join him and Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday at Vidhan Sabha Metro Station Gate 3 in New Delhi at 5.00 pm for a candle march protest, urging them to raise their voice for the Bill they fought for at the Ramlila Maidan.

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Having termed ruling AAP’s 2015 ombudsman bill “mahajokepal”, the Swaraj Abhiyan has challenged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to a public debate on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

“Swaraj Abhiyan challenges the Delhi chief minister for an open debate with Prashant Bhushan on their Jan Lokpal Bill,” Swaraj Abhiyan, founded by former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, said in a statement on Sunday.

“We hope that Arvind Kejriwal stops misguiding the common people through lies and false propaganda and accepts the challenge for a healthy debate in the interest of transparency and common people of Delhi,” it added.

Earlier on Sunday, Bhushan, the ousted AAP leader, told reporters, “We were shocked to find that the present Bill is against every principle on the basis of which the anti-corruption movement fought for the institution of Janlokpal. It proposes a Lokpal that is to be completely controlled by the government.”

Bhushan on Saturday had termed ruling AAP’s 2015 ombudsman Bill as “mahajokepal”.

The party is claiming the Bill is identical to the draft, prepared during the Anna Hazare movement, and the 2014 Bill that it had tried to introduce in the Delhi Assembly.

Bhushan released a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna’s Janlokpal draft.

“If you (Kejriwal) have actually copied from Janlokpal Bill 2014 or Uttarakhand Bill, then what took you so long? Why did Arvind keep on tweeting that he is drafting the Bill?” Bhushan asked.

Bhushan, however, acknowledged that he should avoided using harsh words against the party’s spokesperson Raghav Chadha during a TV debate over the issue.

Reacting to the allegations by Bhushan, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh tweeted, “Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?”

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP,” Ashutosh said in a series of tweets.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Algeria Embarking ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign Against Corruption, Questions Tycoons

Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month

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algeria, clean hands campaign, corruption
FILE - Protestors carry a large flag and chant slogans during a demonstration against the country's leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

Algerian authorities are embarking on a “Clean Hands” campaign aimed at rooting out corruption that has been linked to top tycoons and current and former government officials. Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. New protests are scheduled for Friday.

Several influential Algerians have been questioned or arrested in recent days. Among them is Issad Rebrab, head of Algeria’s biggest private conglomerate Cevital, who is suspected of possible customs-related violations and other financial wrongdoing, according to prosecutors.

Rebrab, 75, is estimated by Forbes to be Algeria’s richest man and employs 18,000 workers in his agribusiness empire. He tweeted that he went in voluntarily for police questioning. He was questioned for six hours before being taken to the El Harrach prison.

clean hands campaign, corruption
Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. VOA

Others targeted include a legislator accused of accepting bribes from a Chinese company. Also detained for questioning this week were three wealthy brothers believed close to Bouteflika’s brother Said, and seven Industry Ministry officials suspected of “non respect of contractual commitments with state enterprises” and influence trading.

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The Kouninef brothers’ lawyers said they are respecting the legal procedures but need time to consult the case files before commenting. The brothers made their fortune in the oil, food and advertising businesses.

The highest court in Algeria announced in a statement Wednesday that it is considering a case against ex-energy minister Chakib Khelil for acts related to “violations of foreign exchange laws and transfers of capital to foreigners.” Khelil is a close friend of Bouteflika and a high school classmate. Other former ministers are also targeted. (VOA)