Social activist Anna Hazare on Friday said the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill would not help in any way in fighting corruption. He repeated his charge that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was behind the panel's recommendations.
“The issues remain the same. This means the committee has fooled the public. Their report does not help in fighting corruption,” Mr. Hazare told journalists at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra.
Renewing his demand for bringing the lower bureaucracy within the ambit of the Lokpal, he said the government wanted to bring the Group C and D employees under the Central Vigilance Commission. “The CVC is under government, it will do what the government says. Then what is the point.” He also objected to the committee's recommendation to keep MPs' conduct inside Parliament out of the ombudsman's ambit, asking “why are they scared.”
“Even a schoolboy would know that it is a trick,” he said.
His colleagues in Delhi, meanwhile, attacked the committee, questioning the credibility of its report.
"The committee had 30 members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report is supported by balance 12. Seven are from the Congress, Lalu Prasad, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati's BSP. So much for credibility of this report,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said.
However, panel chairman Abhishek Singhvi said the dissent note did not mean that the MPs were against the entire report and they might be expressing reservations against one or more points.
Mr. Hazare, who would observe a fast on Sunday in protest against exclusion of his key demands like bringing the lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal, said the government was saying from the beginning that they would bring in a strong Lokpal Bill but they had brought a very weak Bill.
“Who is behind this? The Prime Minister has written to me. Pranab Mukherjee wrote to the committee that Parliament has passed a resolution. But the committee says it has not received any communication. Is this a government or a trader's shop?”
However, the report, made public on Friday, clearly mentions that the panel was in the know of the Parliament resolution. “ ... There was a detailed discussion on the statement of the Minister of Finance on the issues relating to the setting up of the Lokpal in both Houses of Parliament on the 27th August, 2011,” it said.
Mr. Hazare said he had trust in Parliament but asserted that a “show-off” draft would not help things.
Team Anna said it would oppose “tooth and nail” the committee proposals which, it claimed, were taking the anti-corruption systems two steps backward.
Activist Kiran Bedi said, “Damage is done by keeping the CBI's investigation powers out of the Lokpal — whole reason for the Lokpal? Will Parliament undo?”