Govt, Oppn closer to agreeing on lokayuktas, CBI | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt, Oppn closer to agreeing on lokayuktas, CBI

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2012 01:44 IST
Nagendar Sharma

A parliamentary panel - specifically set-up to examine the highly publicised and controversial lokpal bill - on Monday recommended autonomy for states to set-up anti-graft lokayuktyas and partial freedom for the CBI from governmental control.

The report, adopted unanimously by the Rajya Sabha select committee with representation from all major political parties, indicates that the government and opposition have significantly narrowed down their differences on key provisions of the bill.

The panel's recommendations show that the opposition parties have managed in getting their key demands accepted. Sources in the committee, however, denied reports about any change in the bill passed by the Lok Sabha on the probe into corruption charges against the PM.

"The provision related to the PM remains unchanged...The existing position is that the PM is covered under lokpal with safeguards," a member said.

In its main recommendation, the panel has asked for delinking setting-up of lokayuktas through the lokpal bill, a provision that was strongly opposed by many political parties, including some UPA allies.

The RS panel has, however, stated that states will have to set up their own anti-graft watchdogs through bills to be passed by state legislatures "within one year from the notification of the present (lokpal) bill."

It has given the option of sending the bill to all states as a model bill, "but the states will have absolute freedom in deciding what kind of bill they want," the panel concluded.

On the CBI functioning, the committee appeared to have partially accepted the longstanding demand of the opposition parties and recommended that its chief be appointed by an independent collegium.

"The director CBI and director of prosecution should be appointed by collegium comprising the PM, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India," it stated.

It also asked for a fixed tenure for them and sought debarring them from any re-employment by the government.

The panel, however, rejected the opposition demand to scrap the proposal for women and minorities quota in the lokpal.