Lokpal Bill: Sibal dismisses Hazare`s allegations

Asserting that Anna Hazare`s allegations against him have no "factual basis", HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday termed as "patently false" the statements attributed to him.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 20:47 PM IST

New Delhi: Asserting that Anna Hazare`s
allegations against him have no "factual basis", HRD Minister
Kapil Sibal, one of the five ministers nominated to the joint
committee to draft Lokpal Bill, on Monday termed as "patently
false" the statements attributed to him.

Without naming Sibal, Hazare had written a letter to
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accusing him of holding "private
informal debriefing session" for journalists to charge civil
society members with "succumbing to government`s pressure"
after the first meeting of the joint committee last week.

Reacting to the allegations, the minister`s office issued
a clarification and said the statement attributed to him that
"the civil society members have succumbed to government
pressure" is patently false.

"No such statement was ever made by Mr Sibal," it said.

The clarification said that after the first meeting of
the Joint Drafting Committee with reference to the Lokpal
Bill, and after the official briefing, Sibal held no meeting
with journalists to debrief them.

"After the meeting, journalists followed him to his home
and sought details about the meeting, which he refused to
divulge....Journalists who came to his house sought a copy of
the fresh draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill which had been handed
over to the Members of the Committee and sought further
details with reference thereto. Sibal refused to give a copy
of the draft in question," it said.

"The fact that no debriefing took place is confirmed by
journalists who were present in his house and have on air
stated that the allegation made in Anna Hazare`s letter has no
factual basis," the minister`s office said.

Hazare had alleged one of the ministers, who addressed
the media on Saturday after the joint committee meeting, said
it was "good".

But later, Hazare said, the minister held a "private
informal debriefing session" at his house and "falsely
accused" the civil society representatives of having succumbed
to government`s pressure within the committee and that the
civil society have diluted the law".

"This was a completely false statement because there were
no discussions at all on the law within the committee. His
informal debriefing created confusion in the minds of people
across the country. It appears that this debriefing was meant
to send a message to public that we have been influenced,"
Hazare said in the letter to Gandhi.

PTI