PM out of govt draft; Lokpal meet ends in disagreement

The key issues on which differences remained even after the ninth and last meeting of the 10-member panel included bringing the prime minister, higher judiciary and acts of MPs inside Parliament within the purview of the Lokpal, the mode of selection and removal of its members

New Delhi: The civil society and the government today failed to arrive at a common draft on the Lokpal Bill over which there were major differences as the official version excluded the Prime Minister from its purview, reports PTI.

Maintaining that they "agreed to disagree", HRD minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after an hour-long meeting that differences could not be resolved on around eight key issues.

A draft bill, which could be a combination of views of both the sides or separate, will be taken up by the Union Cabinet before introduction in Parliament during the Monsoon session.

The key issues on which differences remained even after the ninth and last meeting of the 10-member panel included bringing the prime minister, higher judiciary and acts of MPs inside Parliament within the purview of the Lokpal, the mode of selection and removal of its members.

The government draft which was unveiled at the meeting excludes the prime minister, said activist Arvind Kejriwal.

Expressing 'deep disappointment' over the government draft, the Anna Hazare team said the model proposed by it was just a 'symbolic attempt' to install an authority in the name of Lokpal rather than a 'comprehensive, independent, empowered' institution to fight corruption.

"They gave their draft, we gave our draft and there was a short discussion...on important issues there was no agreement.

These are six issues (on which views have been sought from political parties) and one or two more issues," Mr Sibal told reporters after an hour-long meeting.

"We agreed to disagree," he said adding, the differences related to changing the existing system of governance.

"There are two-three days. If they (Hazare team) wish to give comments on our drafts, they can do so...we hope the differences are resolved," Mr Sibal said.

Both the drafts will be circulated among political parties in a meeting next month before being taken up by the Cabinet, he said.

The HRD minister, who was one of the five ministers in the joint committee, insisted that the government would bring a 'strong' anti-corruption bill as 'we had promised'.

Mr Hazare aides Prshant Bhushan and Mr Kejriwal said the government draft made it clear that the ruling party will have control over the Lokpal as five of the seven political members of the selection committee will be from the party in power.

"I must say I am deeply disappointed by the model of Lokpal that the government has proposed," Mr Bhushan said.

Criticising the government, Mr Kejriwal said that the earlier draft had at least proposed to bring the PM in the purview of Lokpal but the present one does not have this provision.

However, Mr Bhushan said "some gains" have been made in the long exercise.

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Share prices may eke out marginal gains: Tuesday Closing Report

A minor rally possible if Monday’s low holds and Nifty stays above 5,320

Recovering from the steep losses seen yesterday, the market opened higher tracking a firming trend in the exchanges across Asia, on easing of the Greece debt situation. The Sensex opened 67 points higher at 17,574 and the Nifty was at 5,281, up 23 points.

Investors resorted to bargain hunting, taking the indices higher, but news that state-owned explorer ONGC is looking to rope in a foreign partner in its eastern offshore gas block pulled the market lower. At the day's low, the Sensex fell below its previous close at 17,504 and the Nifty was at 5,257.

The market recouped its losses somewhat, as banking, oil & gas and metals helped the market climb to its intra-day high in noon trade. The Sensex gained 208 points at 17,715 and the Nifty added 64 points to 5,322. But selling took over again and the Sensex eventually closed up 54 points at 17,560 and the Nifty settled at 5,275, up 18 points.

We mentioned in Monday's closing report that the index should hold on to its Monday's low for some stability. The Nifty's intra-day high was close to its first support of 5,370. For a minor rally to happen, the Nifty has to remain above 5,320, from where it can target to reach 5,440.

The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 541:848.

The broader markets underperformed the Sensex today with the BSE Mid-cap index declining 0.21% and the BSE Small-cap index losing 0.43%.

In the sectoral space, BSE IT (up 1.16%), BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.90%) and BSE TECk (up 0.89%) were the noteworthy gainers. On the other hand, BSE Realty (down 1.78%), BSE Capital Goods (down 0.67%) and BSE Fast Moving Capital Goods (down 0.61%) settled at the bottom of the index.

Markets in Asia finished higher on the easing of Greece debt tensions, but investors were cautious ahead of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting set to begin tonight. While the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will do their best to save the debt-ridden Mediterranean nation from default, the government also faces a crucial confidence vote today.

Meanwhile, the recent slowdown on account of the rate-tightening measures by the Chinese central bank is likely to put pressure on banks that provided loans as part of the stimulus programme, following the global economic crisis in 2008.

The Shanghai Composite advanced 1.01%, the Hang Seng surged 1.16%, the Jakarta Composite jumped 1.76%, the KLSE Composite added 0.10%, the Nikkei 225 climbed 1.13%, the Straits Times rose 1.32%, the Seoul Composite was up 1.41% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.78%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs512.57 crore on Monday, while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs863.31 crore.

News reports suggest that ONGC is in talks with the BG Group and Italian petroleum major Eni for developing its gas block in the eastern offshore. The state-owned exploration major is likely to offer up to 30% stake in the block to the foreign partner. The company's stock fell to Rs255.75, down 0.14% on the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

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vinod kumar balaggan

6 years ago

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Make public charges against Raja: CIC to PMO

An RTI applicant sought to know the reason why Mr Raja was kept in the Cabinet despite serious allegations of corruption against him. The information was denied to him by the PMO saying it does not have any record relating to allegations of corruption against the former telecom minister

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to make public 'charges of corruption' levelled against former telecom minister A Raja along with views of various officials on them expressed in the form of file notings, reports PTI.

The case relates to an RTI applicant seeking to know the reason why Mr Raja was kept in the Cabinet despite serious allegations of corruption against him.

The information was denied to him by the PMO saying it does not have any record relating to allegations of corruption against Mr Raja, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged graft in the award of telecom spectrum during his tenure.

"The appellant has framed his queries in Hindi and his queries are a mix of allegations and his desire for what the nation should be. The Commission has reframed his queries and after discussions with the appellant the reframed query in his application is being given to the PIO," information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi pointed out.

Mr Gandhi directed the PMO to provide "attested copies of records regarding charges of corruption against A Raja and copies of file notings or correspondence of the PMO in this regard" before 10th July.

The CBI had told the special court that there was evidence of 'forgery' in altering of first-come-first-serve policy to allow some companies to get second generation (2G) spectrum during Mr Raja's tenure.

Mr Raja who was arrested by the CBI on 2nd February in connection with corruption in the award of scarce telecom spectrum is still in judicial custody.

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