M A I N   N E W S

House panel adopts Lokpal draft but hurdles remain
Leaves it on House to decide on PM inclusion
Discussion likely to begin by December 19
3 Cong MPs submit dissent notes on leaving Group C
employees out of Lokpal ambit
Vibha Sharma/TNS

Abhishek SinghviThe committee considered 25 issues with convergence on a large number of subjects and some divergence on different issues by different members. — Abhishek Singhvi
Arvind KejriwalI don’t think this (parliamentary panel proposal) will have any impact on corruption…. On the contrary, it is likely to dismantle whatever exists in the name of anti-corruption in this nation. — Arvind Kejriwal, Team Anna member


Anna-led activists have rejected the draft which is silent on including Group C and D employees and also leaves the CBI and the PM out of its ambit.

Lashing out at Abhishek Singhvi, Team Anna accused the Congress leader of disrespecting Parliament by going against its commitment of including lower bureaucracy and Citizens’ Charter under Lokpal.


Sources say once the committee presents the report on December 9, the Bill will be tabled in the House after a Cabinet clearance next week. The idea is to ensure that the contentious legislation is cleared by the end of winter session.

New Delhi, December 7
Wednesday was supposed to be the day when the Parliamentary committee on Lokpal would have met for the one last time to formally adopt the report on the anti-corruption Bill it has been reviewing since August.

Though the committee adopted its report on the contentious Lokpal Bill leaving it to the wisdom of Parliament to decide on the inclusion of Prime Minister in its ambit, the day ended with an unexpected twist in the tale with three Congress MPs on the committee giving dissent note on the panel’s recommendations.

Incidentally, one of them, Meenakshi Natrajan, is a close associate of Rahul Gandhi, thereby leading to speculations whether the Congress scion was responsible for the “unusual” move by the ruling party MPs.

Natarajan’s demand that “Group C” employees and the CVC be included under the ambit of the Lokpal was supported by PT Thomas and Deepa Dasmunsi. The sudden turn of events, along with indications from the government, have led to speculations that the final draft may include the Prime Minister, with safeguards that he would not be accountable for action of his ministers, and Group C employees under the Lokpal.

For Dasmunsi, it was a U-turn since last time she is believed to have said that “Group C” should be left out of the Lokpal ambit.

With the three Congress MPs formally registering their protest, the total number of dissent notes submitted to the committee on various issues is now up to 16. Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad also gave a dissent note today, asking for reservation for SC/ST and minorities in the Lokpal. BJP, Left and SP members have already given 13 dissent notes on the non-inclusion of lower bureaucracy and the CBI under the anti-corruption ombudsman.

While committee chairman Abhishek Singhvi termed the dissent by his party colleagues their “individual prerogative”, sources say the Congress’ disagreement at the meeting was a part of the party’s strategy to ensure that the BJP does not walk away with all the accolades for supporting Anna Hazare and his cause for a strong Lokpal Bill and also to blunt the Team Anna’s anti-Congress attack.

Anna has threatened to go on fast on December 27 and sources say the government is keen to preempt any eventuality that may spoil Congress’ prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Team Anna has also invited political parties to speak during Anna’s fast on Sunday and Congress wants to present itself as a party sensitive to issues raised by activists.





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