Team Anna meets Jaitley, other party leaders over Jan Lokpal Bill

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Team Anna meets Jaitley, other party leaders over Jan Lokpal Bill
New Delhi:  Pressing on with its campaign.to get political parties to support an effective Lokpal Bill, Team Anna members today met senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley.

Yesterday, Team Anna had accused the government of reducing the proposed Lokpal to an "empty tin box with no powers" and had said that the reports filtering out of the Standing Committee's discussions on the Bill were a cause of concern.

The meeting with Mr Jaitley is part of a series of interactions with political parties that the anti-corruption campaigners have embarked on to address this concern.

They have already met Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan, who is a member of the Standing Committee, and leaders of the AIADMK, which also has a member on the panel.  They now plan to meet leaders from the Trinamool and other parties.

The members present at the meeting with Mr Jaitley included Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan.

In a statement yesterday, Team Anna said that they were surprised at the move to exclude the Citizen's Charter and remove the lower bureaucracy from the ambit of the ombudsman, contrary to a Parliament resolution. It also criticised the move to remove the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the Lokpal's jurisdiction, saying the Standing Committee's proposal on the agency would reduce the Lokpal to merely a post office.

Mr Hazare suspended his fast in August on the basis of a resolution passed by Parliament which was termed as 'Sense of House' by some people but was referred to as a 'resolution' by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his letter to the Gandhian, the statement pointed out.

"This resolution clearly stated that three issues would be addressed through the Lokpal Bill, namely Lokayuktas, in states would be created through the same bill and lower
bureaucracy and citizens charter would be included in the Lokpal Bill," it said.

The statement also demanded that criminal investigation of judges, which has been left out of Judicial Accountability Bill, should now be included in the Lokpal Bill.

The government has promised anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare that it would make the anti-corruption legislation a reality during the Winter Session, which began today. Mr Hazare has threatened to intensify his stir if the Centre fails to pass the Bill in the Session.
 

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