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New Lokpal Bill to be tabled in Lok Sabha tomorrow

NEW DELHI: A new Lokpal Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha tomorrow and the existing one will be withdrawn.

This was conveyed by government to main the opposition BJP today along with the intention to have a three-day additional sitting of Parliament from December 27 to take up this crucial Bill. BJP gave its nod to this proposal.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a meeting today with Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and BJP leader L. K. Advani to discuss the issue.

Mukherjee conveyed to the BJP that the Lokpal Bill passed by the Cabinet last night could be circulated to MPs only today evening, according to sources. He also said the existing Lokpal Bill, introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament, would be withdrawn in Lok Sabha tomorrow and the new Bill introduced.

Mukherjee said that in this scenario, there was little option but to extend the winter session by three more days and discuss the Lokpal Bill from December 27 to 29.

The BJP agreed to the proposal after initial reluctance. Party sources said its opposition is to the content of the Bill rather than extension of this session.

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) will meet this evening to decide on the extension.

The government is keen to ensure passage of Lokpal along with two crucial legislations—Judicial Accountability Bill and Whistleblower Protection Bill—during the current session. But since only two days are left, it wants additional sitting after the Christmas break. —PTIBack



New Lokpal Bill unacceptable: Team Anna

NEW DELHI: Keeping up the heat, Team Anna today attacked the government for excluding CBI out of Lokpal's ambit, saying it "totally destroys" the anti-corruption mechanism in the country by not giving the investigating arm to the ombudsman.

"If the CBI is outside, then how will the Lokpal be strong? This system will save corrupt politicians. If CBI comes under Lokpal, then (Home Minister) P. Chidambaram will be in jail. You are saving corrupt politicians and say it is a strong Lokpal," Hazare told reporters at Ralegan Siddhi.

"It is cheating people who will teach them a lesson," he said, adding he would campaign against the UPA in Uttar Pradesh and other four states going to polls early next year.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said the new Bill would do "more harm than doing good" to the existing anti-graft machinery.

Another member Justice Santosh Hegde said there was some "ego problem" with the government in accepting certain suggestions in the Jan Lokpal bill while Kiran Bedi claimed that the agency would remain under government control till immunity was given for the past acts of corruption by political parties.

"The Lokpal Bill will not have even investigating powers.

“You will complain to Lokpal but it cannot investigate. What Lokpal is the government setting up? It means the government is cheating people," Kejriwal said.

Hegde said with the CBI out of Lokpal's control, what it did would be like departmental enquiry. "This is certainly unacceptable," he said.

Bedi said on micro-blogging site Twitter, "The Bill is not path breaking but breaking the path. Thank you Sonia G." "It appears till a provision for immunity is guaranteed for past acts of corruption, political parties will ensure CBI remains in government control," she said, adding it was now 'Save CBI' campaign. —PTIBack



Govt ready for Lokpal fight: Sonia

Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday told party MPs that the Congress was ready to fight for the Lokpal and Women's Bill, reports said. The Opposition and Team Anna should accept the government's draft Bill, she added. The Congress has fulfilled its poll promises on food security and Lokpal, Sonia Gandhi said.

BJP is yet to reconcile to fact that UPA has got people's confidence and is spreading canards about differences between the Congress and the government, she said. Gandhi interacted with party MPs on Wednesday amid challenges galore for the party and the government in the New Year.  Back



Prithvi-II missile fails to take off

Balasore, Orissa: India’s indigenous medium range missile Prithvi-II missile failed to take off during trial tests on Wednesday. As per reports, two Prithvi-II missiles failed the test.




Army officer found spying for ISI

New Delhi: In a major embarrassment, a Lieutenant Colonel from the Indian Army was reportedly caught in a "honey trap" by Pakistani intelligence agencies that forced him to spy for them against Indian interests, sources at the Army headquarters said.

The officer, from an infantry unit, is now facing a court of inquiry to ascertain if he passed on any sensitive information on the Indian Army's deployments and plans, the sources said.

The officer was in Bangladesh this summer to attend a course at one of their military academies when he was trapped by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), sources said




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