No back door talks with Ramdev: Moily

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:24 am IST

Published - June 11, 2011 04:48 pm IST - Bangalore

Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily: "Sri Sri Ravishankar expressed his concern over what is happening and said he would speak to Ramdev". File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily: "Sri Sri Ravishankar expressed his concern over what is happening and said he would speak to Ramdev". File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

The government is not engaged in any “back door” dialogue with yoga guru Ramdev, who went an indefinite fast on the issue of repatriation of black money, Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said.

“There is no back door or open door talks with anyone,” he told reporters.

However, Mr. Moily evaded a question when asked whether the government has sought the help of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar for negotiations with the yoga guru to end his eight—day old agitation.

Offering his clarifications on a reported statement by Ravishankar that he had been asked to hold talks with Ramdev, Mr. Moily said “Sri Sri Ravishankar spoke to me from Berlin and also upon his return to the country and asked me what is happening. He expressed his concern over what is happening and said he would speak to Ramdev.”

Mr. Moily said Ravishankar told him that since he would be visiting Haridwar to perform certain pooja for his father who passed away recently, he would ask Ramdev why he “reneged” on his promise to call off the fast despite the government accepting all his demands.

“Sri Sri asked me whether he can cite my name during talks with Ramdev, to which I agreed,” Mr. Moily said.

On being insisted for a clear response on whether Ravishankar was the government emissary, Mr. Moily remarked “I don’t want to get into any kind of controversy. I have no comments on such things.”

Ramdev, continuing his fast at his ashram in Haridwar since he was evicted by Delhi police from the Ramlila Grounds along with his supporters on June 4, was admitted to a hospital in Dehra Dun on Friday after his heath worsened.

Lashing out at the BJP for its attack on the UPA government over corruption and black money, Mr. Moily accused the party leaders of trying to become “heroes” in the eyes of public after “doing nothing” during the NDA regime.

“The NDA Government slept for seven to eight years and no action was taken to retrieve black money. Now they are trying to become heroes,” he charged.

Mr. Moily claimed the government had so far retrieved about Rs 35,000—Rs 40,000 crore black money stashed away in foreign banks, entered into agreements with about 63 nations to introduce double taxation clause and ratified UN resolution on curbing corruption.

He asserted that it was the UPA government that took steps to enact “a strong” Lok Pal Bill before Anna Hazare entered the scene, and ratified the UNO resolution to end corruption.

Mr. Moily said the government had drafted the Lokpal bill and but for the intervention of Mr. Hazare, it would have been introduced in Parliament in the last session itself.

He suggested to the Lokpal Bill committee members, including Mr. Hazare, to discuss all issues pertaining to the bill within the committee.

Mr. Moily said the Lokpal bill would be drafted by June 30, and will be brought before the cabinet and later introduced in Parliament.

However, he said, “It is a legislative measure and not a Constitutional amendment.”

“It is left to the Parliament to take a decision on it”, he said apparently referring to the August 15 deadline set by Mr. Hazare for enactment of the act.

The Law Minister said many of the states have responded to the Centre’s query on the Lokpal bill.

On whether the BJP-ruled states had sent in their replies, he said “The BJP is not interested in it. They are interested in a street fight“.

Mr. Moily commented on the speculation surrounding the inclusion of the Prime Minister’s Office under the purview of the bill.

“This is an era of the RTI. If someone files a complaint before Lokpal against the Prime Minister, any person with a sensitive nature cannot continue (in the post). This is a matter the country should resolve," he said.

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