Asserting that Anna Hazare’s allegations against him have no “factual basis”, Union Minister Kapil Sibal, one of the five ministers nominated to the joint committee to draft Lokpal Bill, today termed as “patently false” the statements attributed to him.

Without naming Mr. Sibal, Mr. Hazare had written a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accusing him of holding “private informal debriefing session” for journalists to charge civil society members with “succumbing to government’s pressure” after the first meeting of the joint committee last week.

Reacting to the allegations, the minister’s office issued a clarification and said the statement attributed to him that “the civil society members have succumbed to government pressure” is patently false“.

“No such statement was ever made by Mr. Sibal” it said.

The clarification said that after the first meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee with reference to the Lokpal Bill, and after the official briefing, Mr. Sibal held no meeting with journalists to debrief them.

“After the meeting, journalists followed him to his home and sought details about the meeting, which he refused to divulge....Journalists who came to his house sought a copy of the fresh draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill which had been handed over to the Members of the Committee and sought further details. Sibal refused to give a copy of the draft in question,” it said.

“The fact that no debriefing took place is confirmed by journalists who were present in his house and have on air stated that the allegation made in Anna Hazare’s letter has no factual basis,” the minister’s office said.

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