Govt opposed to inclusion of PM under Lokpal: Sibal
"Within the government, we feel prima facie, the prime minister should not be covered under the Lokpal. But at the same time we want to make sure that if he demits office, he should not be exonerated from prosecution," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate programme.At the same time, he said the government will only decide on the issue after the draft bill goes to the Cabinet.
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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh
'Will agree on PM's inclusion if civil society's argument is compelling'
While Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has publicly stated that he was open to the idea of bringing the post under the Lokpal, Sibal said it was not the question of "an individual, Manmohan Singh but it's about an institution".Arguing against the inclusion of a prime minister in office under the ombudsman, the minister said, "Which prime minister in office anywhere in the world has been prosecuted? Please tell me, please give me an example."
Image: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal
'Hazare's followers do not know what Lokpal Bill is'
The tune is lilting and people were upset with corruption just as government is. We want to deal with it. But those who follow him, where they say corruption should be deal with, do not know what the Lokpal Bill is," he said.
Image: A supporter of Anna Hazare
'No dispute on independent Lokpal'
Sibal said there was no dispute on having an independent Lokpal outside the government with powers to carry out independent investigation and prosecution. There was also no need for government sanction for prosecuting public servants, he said."There are huge areas of agreements which are not placed in public domain," he said in a veiled reference to civil society members' claims that there were large areas of disagreement.
Image: Anna Hazare with IPS-officer-turned social activist Kiran Bedi
'Not in favour of bringing CBI, CVC under Lokpal'
Sibal said till new people were recruited, the Lokpal has to draw people from present structure, which according to the civil society are corrupt. "Then how will they become pure, how will they change."He also said the government was flexible on the issue of inclusion of officials below joint secretary level under the Lokpal. However, he was not in favour of bringing CBI and CVC under Lokpal saying, "necessarily there was no need to destroy CBI" while having a separate investigation wing for the ombudsman.
Image: The CBI office in New Delhi