Overturning its two key decisions within a day, the Parliamentary panel examining the Lokpal Bill on Thursday favoured exclusion of group C officials from Lokpal and not to tamper with the present selection process of Central Bureau of Investigation director despite opposition by at least 10 members.
A day after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice had finalised its report on the Lokpal Bill, its Chairman Abhishek Singhvi called an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the two issues afresh.
In the meeting, several members, mostly from Congress, said group C officials should not be brought under Lokpal as it would bring "too much pressure" on a new institution.
They also said the appointment of CBI director was not under the jurisdiction of the Committee as the Lokpal Bill was aimed at creating the institution of the ombudsman. At least ten members, mainly from Bharatiya Janata Part, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Revolutionary Socialist Party opposed the "sudden U turn" saying a decision taken by the Committee cannot be amended.
"If they have reservations, they should give a dissent note," BJP member Kirti Azad said. However, ignoring their contention, Singhvi is learnt to have agreed with the exclusion of group C employees and not tinkering with the selection process of the CBI chief.
Congress sources said "the sense of the meeting" overwhelmingly was to exclude group C and not to change the appointment procedure for CBI director.
On Thursday, the Committee had favoured including group C employees under Lokpal's purview and have a new selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Lokpal Chairman.