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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

No nepotism in Lokpal panel, says Anna Hazare

IANS  New Delhi New Delhi, April 10, 2011
First Published: 17:15 IST(10/4/2011) | Last Updated: 19:17 IST(10/4/2011)

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's allegation of nepotism in forming the Lokpal Bill drafting committee was on Sunday denied by social activist Anna Hazare, who said he had sorted out the matter with Ramdev.

The yoga guru himself backtracked to say he had no problem with the father-son duo of Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan being on the panel.

Ramdev had on aSaturday alleged nepotism in the 10-member government-civil society joint drafting committee.

"I spoke to Kiran (Bedi) ji and will talk to Anna ji as people of the country are raising the issue that why nepotism has come in the five-member (civil society) committee which is representing the 121 crore population of the country," Ramdev had told a TV channel.

But on Sunday he retracted his statement saying the matter was raised by the media and some volunteers, and he had no issues with the members of the committee.

"I am happy to say that I have no role to play in the Jan Lokpal Bill committee and am not unhappy that Shanti Bhushan or Prashant Bhushan are there. We have trust in Anna Hazare and whatever decision he takes is correct. I only suggested that Kiran Bedi should be included in it," he said.

Anna Hazare said they needed experienced people and law experts on the panel to draft a stringent anti-corruption law.

"The committee is not permanent, it has been formed only for two months and we should not think that he or she is there or not there. We need experienced people because the law should be stringent, and law experts have been kept on it," Anna Hazare told reporters in the morning.

"That was the whole reason I did not want to be on it but they said if I am in the committee it will put pressure on the government," he added.

Speaking at the Press Club in the evening, Hazare denied any differences among the anti-graft crusaders.

"People have been asking there are differences on the members of the committee, I want to say it was a small difference and it has bee sorted. I talked to Ramdev, he raised the issue that Kiran Bedi is not in the committee, Kiran Bedi had refused to be in the committee long back."

Reacting to Ramdev's criticism, Shanti Bhushan said: "Anna Hazare has said it's the peoples' victory and Baba Ramdev is included in it. What he feels about the drafting committee … he can't be there as law experts are needed not a yoga guru."

Kiran Bedi, the country's first woman IPS officer, said: "This is the best team that can fight with the government and understand the technicalities of the law."

Arvind Kejriwal, one of the members of the committee, said that both Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan were part of the first draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by them.

"They understand the nitty-gritty of the bill so they will naturally be part of it," he added.

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