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Team Anna meets Jaitley over Lokpal bill


New Delhi : Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi Tuesday met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitely to press for passing the Lokpal bill in the winter session of parliament.

“We are meeting all the members of the standing committee one by one and today we met Arun Jaitley,” Kejriwal told reporters outside parliament after meeting the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Team Anna has been pitching for early passage of the Lokpal Bill that aims to address corruption in the country. The standing committee examining the bill is expected to present its report by Dec 7.

“One of the issues that is emerging is of Group C and D officers being kept out of the Lokpal. We asked them that if you keep 57 lakh government employees out of this, thus giving them the independence to indulge in corruption, then the common man who is not getting ration, where would he complain,” he asked.

There have been reports that the standing committee has suggested inclusion of Group B central government employees under the ambit of the Lokpal, but excluding Group C and D. Group A has been included right from the start under the bill’s jurisdiction.

Reports have also suggested that the judiciary, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Citizen’s Charter have also been kept out of the Lokpal’s ambit.

“If you don’t bring CBI under its (Lokpal) ambit then the Lokpal would be reduced to a post office. If the duty of Lokpal is limited to forwarding investigation reports from the CBI to the courts, then we don’t need it,” Kejriwal said.

On the Citizen’s Charter, he said it was a “promise made by the parliament to the people of India that lower bureaucracy and citizen’s charter would be brought under this bill and we called for its implementation.”

“If a judge is corrupt, neither can he be investigated under the judicial accountability bill nor the Lokpal bill. This is a wrong signal that judges who are corrupt can’t be prosecuted,” he added.

On Monday, Team Anna in a statement had expressed its unhappiness over the reported exclusion of CBI, judiciary, Group C and D employees, and the citizen’s charter from the proposed Lokpal bill.

They said this would “reduce the anti-graft ombudsman to an empty tin box with no powers and functions”.

Team Anna, which has been led by crusader Anna Hazare, has been asking for early passage of the Lokpal Bill. Hazare has led two successful anti-corruption campaigns in New Delhi in April and August.