India

India anti-corruption Lokpal bill tabled in parliament

India parliament
Image caption The parliament is due to discuss the bill on Tuesday

India's controversial anti-corruption Lokpal bill has been re-introduced in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.

The bill, which empowers an independent ombudsman to prosecute politicians and civil servants, was passed by the Lok Sabha, the lower house, in December.

A heated debate in the Rajya Sabha then had seen hundreds of amendments put forward.

But the house had been adjourned amid chaos without a vote.

Leading anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has been campaigning for a tough Lokpal bill and has called the government bill "useless".

Mr Hazare's main complaint is that the bill proposes keeping India's top investigation agency, CBI, out of the purview of the ombudsman.

In other words, the nine-member Lokpal committee - which would include the ombudsman - would not have its own investigative agency, a major demand of anti-corruption activists like Mr Hazare and many opposition parties.

His 12-day fast in August received widespread support, with tens of thousands of people attending protests across the country.

He had started another hunger strike in December but called it off and threatened instead to launch a campaign of civil disobedience that would fill the country's jails.

Mr Hazare and his supporters say that tougher measures are required in the bill if it is to prove effective at reducing the level of corruption.

The Indian government has been rocked by recent corruption scandals including an alleged telecoms bribery scam that may have cost the country $39bn (£23bn), suspected financial malpractice linked to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and accusation that homes for war widows were diverted to civil servants.

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