Cabinet clears Lokpal Bill with amendments, Hazare rejects new draft

Anna-Hazare4New Delhi/ Patna, Jan 31 : The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the draft of the proposed Lokpal Bill with major amendments suggested by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, based on recommendations from various political parties.

However, ant-graft activist Anna Hazare rejected the new draft too, saying the bill proposed by the Cabinet is useless as it is unable to eradicate corruption from the country.

The Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during the winter session of Parliament in 2011, but ran into hurdles in the Rajya Sabha.

The amended Lokpal Bill will make it mandatory for the states to set up their own anti-corruption ombudsmen (Lokayukt) within a year of the bill coming into effect.

Religious and charitable institutions, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be exempted, but political parties will be brought under the Lokpal.

But the new draft disagreed with the select committee's view that the power to transfer CBI officials should rest with the Lokpal and not the investigative agency.

Terming the Cabinet exercise as a mere `Nautanki' (drama), Hazare said that the bill in its current form, is too weak to fight corruption and has been inordinately delayed.

Talking to reporters in Patna, Hazare said: "As long as the investigative agencies like CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) will be not made independent like Election Commission, we can not eradicate corruption from the country."

His main demand is to bring the Prime Minister and the CBI under the Lokpal, but the government has rejected the idea.

The activist said that he would continue his fight for the Jan Lokpal Bill. (ANI)