Granting constitutional status to the proposed Lokpal will have no meaning if it does not have powers to probe the Prime Minister and the CBI within its jurisdiction, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said on Tuesday.

“Whether the Lokpal is granted a constitutional status or not does not really matter or make much of a difference.

What makes the difference is, what powers the Lokpal will have,” senior CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

A day ahead of the all-party meeting on the issue, he made it clear that the Left would demand inclusion of the Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal, saying “you cannot keep the Prime Minister out of it on the grounds that adequate safeguards have not been finalised“.

The Prime Minister was in charge of crucial ministries concerning atomic energy, science and technology and oceanography and therefore, “cannot be kept out of the Lokpal ambit on the issue of corruption”, he said.

Mr. Yechury said that the CBI’s anti-graft wing should be within the jurisdiction of the proposed ombudsman.

He also supported the inclusion of Group C and D officers of the government within its ambit, commenting that “the ‘hafta’ is collected by the beat constable, whether he is instructed by his top official or a politician.”

While the vast majority of the people and bureaucracy were honest and their integrity cannot be questioned, whoever is responsible for corruption must be brought to book, Mr. Yechury said.

The CPI (M) leader said the Left would continue to press for inclusion of the Prime Minister, CBI and Groups C and D within the jurisdiction of the Lokpal.

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