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Your pal is not the PM’s pal

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DNA reports:

In the face of sharp divisions, the Parliamentary panel scrutinising the Lokpal Bill has decided to leave the issue of inclusion of Prime Minister under the ambit of the ombudsman to the “good sense” of Parliament.

The Committee, which had earlier decided to include Group C officials within the purview of Lokpal, has also recommended to exclude the category.

In the 199-page final draft report circulated to the members today, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice has said that three broad views have emerged on the inclusion or exclusion of Prime Minister under Lokpal.

These views should be sent as “options” and it should be left to the “good sense” of Parliament to decide on which option needs to be adopted.

The predictable response from Anand Kejriwal (later repeated by Anna Hazare) was reported by IBN Live:

Rejecting the recommendations of parliamentary panel on Lokpal Bill, Team Anna on Wednesday claimed that they would not have any impact on corruption and would instead dismantle the existing anti-graft mechanism.

“I think the recommendations of the (Parliamentary) Standing Committee, whatever they are, the Lokpal which is coming, I don’t think this will have any impact on corruption. On the contrary, it is likely to dismantle whatever exists in the name of anti-corruption in this country,” activist Arvind Kejriwal said.

Claiming that the Standing Committee proposes to divide Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into three parts, Kejriwal said the move would cripple the investigating agency.

“So by taking excuse of Anna andolan rather than strengthening the anti-corruption system, they seem to further weaken whatever exists,” he said.

Asked whether Anna Hazare would go ahead with his proposed fast, he said it was for the anti-corruption crusader to take a call. “As far as fast is concerned, it is Anna who is going to decide.”

“All that I can say is we are committed till the end for a strong Lokpal Bill,” he added.

Non-governmental opposition to the Jan Lokpal draft came from Aruna Roy, as DNA reported elsewhere:

Criticising Team Anna’s draft for the Jan Lokpal bill, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) founder member, Aruna Roy, has said that it would lead to massive corruption due to the centralisation of power. Roy was speaking during a meet-the-press event organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists on Tuesday.

“The Jan Lokpal talks of centralisation of power, in a single body, which would not be under anyone’s scrutiny. This is a dangerous situation and would lead to rampant corruption,” she said.

The eminent Magsaysay awardee and Right to Information (RTI) crusader said that on the question of placing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) within the purview of the Lokpal, NCPRI was in agreement with Team Anna.

The issue of the Lokpal bill has wedged a divide between Roy and Team Anna members, especially her once-upon-ardent votary, Arvind Kejriwal. Roy had criticised the proposed draft of the Jan Lokpal made by Team Anna, as “impractical and unworkable”.

IBN Live reported on MPs who dissented from the parliamentary panel’s recommendation:

The Parliament Standing Committee adopted the draft of Lokpal Bill on Wednesday even though there was no consensus among the 30-member panel. Sixteen dissenting notes have been submitted along with the report. The Lokpal Bill draft will be tabled in Parliament on Friday. Sources say the Lokpal Bill will be taken up in the Lok Sabha on December 19.

In a major twist, Congress MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsour Meenakshi Natarajan, who is a close associate of party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, demanded that Group C employees and the CVC be included in the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.

Two Congress MPs, PT Thomas and Deepa Dasmunsi also supported Natarajan’s demand. Deepa Dasmunsi did a U-turn as last time she had disagreed and said that Group C should be left out. However, in Wednesday’s meeting,she demanded the inclusion of Group C under the ambit of Lokpal.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad also gave a dissent note, asking for reservation in Lokpal.

Parliament Standing Committee Chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that several MPs had submitted their dissenting notes.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

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