New Delhi: Granting constitutional status
to the proposed Lokpal will have no meaning if it does not
have powers to probe the Prime Minister and the CBI within its
jurisdiction, the CPI(M) said on Tuesday.
"Whether the Lokpal is granted a constitutional status
or not does not really matter or make much of a difference.
What makes the difference is what powers the Lokpal will
have," senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
A day ahead of the all-party meeting on the issue, he
made it clear that the Left would demand inclusion of the
Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal, saying "you
cannot keep the Prime Minister out of it on the grounds that
adequate safeguards have not been finalised".
The Prime Minister was in charge of crucial ministries
concerning atomic energy, science and technology and
oceanography and therefore, "cannot be kept out of the Lokpal
ambit on the issue of corruption", he said.
Yechury said that the CBI`s anti-graft wing should be
within the jurisdiction of the proposed ombudsman.
He also supported the inclusion of Group C and D
officers of the government within its ambit, commenting that
"the `hafta` is collected by the beat constable, whether he is
instructed by his top official or a politician."
While the vast majority of the people and bureaucracy
were honest and their integrity cannot be questioned, whoever
is responsible for corruption must be brought to book, Yechury
The CPI(M) leader said the Left would continue to
press for inclusion of the Prime Minister, CBI and Groups C
and D within the jurisdiction of the Lokpal.