National Advisory Council (NAC) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has responded to social activist Anna Hazare's letter, assuring him she does not support smear campaigns and reiterating her commitment to fighting corruption.
Hazare on Monday wrote to Gandhi about the "smear campaign" against civil society members of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill.
This came in the backdrop of the CD and land controversies involving panel co-chair Shanti Bhushan.
Hazare asked Gandhi to stop her colleagues from derailing the process of drafting the law.
Hazare was apparently alluding to telecom minister Kapil Sibal and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh.
Gandhi wrote back on Tuesday: "Let me reiterate… I believe there is an urgent need to combat corruption. You should have no doubt of my commitment in the fight for probity in public life…"
"As for statements appearing in the media, let me assure you I don't support or encourage the politics of smear campaigns."
Gandhi also pointed out that the Lokpal Bill has always been on the NAC agenda and that a working group had been formed to evolve broad principles for discussion and approval in the council's next meeting on April 28.
She said this group held consultations on April 4 with civil society representatives, including Shanti and Prashant Bhushan and Santosh Hegde, who are now in the joint committee.
"This is the course the NAC was following until the process was, as you know, overtaken by subsequent events," she said, apparently referring to Hazare's agitation.
The NAC has now decided it won't go into the Lokpal Bill to avoid duplication.