Row won`t affect drafting of Lokpal Bill: Govt
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 23, 2011, 09:30
New Delhi: Government on Friday said controversies involving some civil society members of the joint committee for drafting the Lokpal Bill would not affect its working and will work with the members to prepare a "strong and sound" anti-corruption legislation.

After a meeting of Congress' Core Group headed by Sonia Gandhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said controversies "won't affect" the working of Lokpal Bill drafting panel.

"Contrversiies have been raised about members of the joint committee on the Lokpal Bill. I would like to make it clear that the view of government as also the view of party, the Congress, the working of Lokpal Bill drafting panel won't be affected by these controversies.

"Goverment members of the committee look forward to working with Anna Hazare and his colleagues on the committee and to draft a strong and sound Lokpal Bill to fight corruption," he said.

Mukherjee's remarks came after a 90-minute meeting of the Core Group that discussed the issues threadbare.

Hazare had written a letter to Gandhi earlier this week alleging a smear campaign by some Congress leaders and sought to know whether the exercise had her sanction. Replying to it, Gandhi had said her party did not support any kind of smear campaign and was committed to rooting out corruption.

Mukherjee's statement came a day after the Prime Minister's remarks that government hopes to introduce during the monsoon session of Parliament the Lokpal Bill on which a committee of Ministers and representatives of civil society are working.

Admitting that there is little public tolerance for the prevailing state of affairs on the issue of corruption, Singh had yesterday said that his government is committed to facing this challenge boldly as people expect swift and exemplary action.

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, in the thick of a controversy over remarks on the Lokpal committee members Shanti and Prashant Bhushan and Justice Santosh Hegde, said Congress and the government would in no way hamper the work of the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.

The Congress general secretary, who has raised questions over Shanti Bhushan and his son getting land in Noida and alleged evasion of stamp duty in Allahabad, said the party or the government had no objection to their continuance in the committee but left it to their conscience whether they should remain in it.

He said he had at no time attacked Justice Hegde but only raised a question that if the best Lokayukta in Karnataka cannot stop "rampant corruption" in the state then a serious thought should be given to the system.

He dismissed suggestions that Congress and some of its leaders were behind the attacks on the civil society members.


First Published: Saturday, April 23, 2011, 09:30

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