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Lokpal panel finalises report amid dissent

New Delhi: The parliamentary standing committee examining the Lokpal bill finalised its draft report Wednesday amidst increased dissent from members.

Panel chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the report, carrying dissent notes, is likely to be presented in parliament Friday. “We have adopted the draft report. It is likely to be presented to parliament Friday,” Singhvi told IANS, adding that the final report will have dissent notes.

Singhvi said the panel examined around 25 issues and agreed on most of them. “But there are differences on some issues,” he said. Sources said that out of around 15 dissent notes on various issues, most relate to exclusion of around 5.7 million Group C government staffers from the ambit of the Lokpal.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left parties and Samajwadi Party have already submitted their dissent notes, three Congress members — Deepa Dasmunsi, P.T. Thomas and Meenakshi Natrajan –joined them Wednesday.

The three Congress members also want the Chief Vigilance Commissioner under the Lokpal.
Opposing constitutional status for the Lokpal, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav demanded reservation for Dalits, backward castes and the minorities in all the panels under the Lokpal.

Lok Jan Shakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan has a similar demand. But sources said there is general agreement in the panel that the Lokpal should have constitutional status. Singhvi said the controversial issue of bringing the prime minister under the Lokpal has been left to parliament.

The BJP and the Left parties have also given dissent note on this issue, besides absence of a citizen’s charter and the manner of appointing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief. Sources said the draft has also recommended bringing corporates, media and NGOs under the Lokpal’s ambit.

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