The government on Friday said it was yet to begin the drafting of the final version of the anti-graft lokpal bill and was open to fresh suggestions before sending the bill to the Cabinet for final approval.
"Yes, you can say that the final government draft of the lokpal bill has not yet been prepared. What we have is the draft from the government representatives in the joint drafting committee," law minister M Veerappa Moily said. After receiving feedback from political parties, the law ministry will start drafting the final version of the bill and send it to various ministries for consultation, following which it would be placed before the Cabinet, Moily said.
Moily said the government has made it clear that it will place both the drafts — one prepared by the government representatives and the other by Anna Hazare’s team — in the all party meeting on July 3.
Moily said the draft prepared by the five ministers on the joint drafting panel reflected the suggestions and opinions of the civil society as well. "Hazare's team was present in the meetings and gave many suggestions which we have tried to incorporate in the present draft."
But the two sides in the panel had differed on eight criticial issues, including bringing the Prime Minister and higher judiciary within the purview of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
Contrary to Team Hazare's description of government's Lokpal Bill draft as a "very big hoax", Swami Agnivesh, an associate of the Gandhian's anti-graft campaign, on Friday termed the latest draft as an "improvement" of its 2010 draft.
Agnivesh however, said the Prime Minister should be brought within the lokpal's ambit and hoped contentious issues between the two sides can be sorted out.