December 20th, 2011
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Lokpal before union cabinet today

manmohanNew Delhi: The government is ready with its final draft of the Lokpal Bill, and it would be presented before the Union cabinet today at 2pm. The drafting team finally cleared the text of the controversial Lokpal Bill. A group of senior Ministers P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal ,  Salman Khursheed and Department of Personnel V Narayanasamy met in the afternoon in the office of the Home Minister Chidambaram, who chaired the meeting.

They went through the draft Bill, clause by clause, and “cleaned” it up. Sources said the ministers, at their brainstorming yesterday, reconciled two drafts – one prepared by officials of the Department of Personnel and Training and another prepared with suggestions from the all political parties – to put together the final draft. The Cabinet note and the “cleaned-up” draft Lokpal Bill will be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for final clearance, ahead of Today’s Cabinet meeting.

Some major changes mentioned were that there should be no tinkering with the CBI’s structure to bring any part of it under the nine-member Lokpal. There is agreement that the CBI must have complete investigative autonomy. But whether it should report to the Lokpal – either in part or whole – has confounded politicians. The Lokpal Mandate will handle complaints of corruption filed by the public against government servants. However, there is no agreement on the modus operandi to be followed.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal said the revised Lokpal Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday or Thursday; the Parliament session could be extended by three days, starting December 27, he said.




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