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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Anna welcomes govt's move to release Lokpal tapes

New Delhi: Anna Hazare has welcomed the government's sudden change of heart in the face of an RTI query on making public the audio recordings of the Jan Lokpal Bill drafting committee meetings. Anna said this leads to greater transparency and that is something that would restore the people's faith in the government.

But sources say the disclosure of the committee proceedings will be selective and that nothing which would hamper the government's work in drafting the Lokpal Bill or which embarrasses the government will be disclosed.

After more than half a dozen meetings and a series of backroom talks, the government and Team Anna failed to arrive at a consensus on the Lokpal Bill, leading to the confrontation and Anna's fast at Ramlila Maidan. Nearly a month after Parliament finally resolved to enact an effective Lokpal, the real points of contentions between Team Anna and the government could now be out in the public domain with the government agreeing to make audio recordings of the Lokpal joint drafting committee public.

Sources say elements not impinging on the jurisdiction or working of the Parliamentary Standing Committee currently scrutinising the bill will be made available. Earlier the Department of Personnel and Training had sought opinion of the Law Ministry to make public the records of the closed door meetings between the five member Anna Hazare team with government nominees.

"Whatever is allowed and necessary under the RTI will be allowed," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

However, former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde said, "My only problem is that if they edit it or if they do it in the manner not in the larger interest of the conversation that took place between the two groups, then it will create some controversy."

Anna Hazare and his team have already upped the ante by campaigning against the Congress in the Hisar by-polls and they are preparing to take the battle to other state elections if the bill is not passed in the winter session of Parliament.


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