Hazare team boycotts Lokpal drafting panel meeting

Civil society members of the Lokpal bill drafting committee today boycotted its meeting citing "suspicious intent" of the government even as government members of the committee held that Anna Hazare's team was raising "extraneous" issues.

Anna HazareAnna Hazare had announced plans to boycott the meeting of the Lokpal drafting panel over the police action to disrupt yoga guru Ramdev's protest at Ramlila Maidan, as it reflected government's "suspicious intent" and "fraud" with regard to fighting corruption.

The government also took a tough posture befitting the way it handled the Ramdev issue and said it would continue with the drafting of the Lokpal bill so as to finish it by the 30 June deadline "whether or not someone" attends the meeting.

It is now a government panel that drafts the bill and the civil society members are mere onlookers as the government members finalise the draft Lokpal bill for introduction in the Monsoon session of Parliament.

The five ministers representing the government attended the meeting while the five civil society members boycotted it.

The government members of the drafting panel today finalised drafts of several issues to be included in the Lokpal bill, according to minister Kapil Sibal. However, he said the drafts will be circulated to the members of the joint drafting committee.