To signal the government's intent to fight corruption, the much-awaited lokpal bill will be brought for the cabinet's clearance next week, so that it can be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament starting August 1.
Union ministers Kapil Sibal and V Narayansami were tightlipped about the contents of the draft bill, merely maintaining that the cabinet will take a final decision on whether or not to include the Prime Minister in the lokpal's ambit. That would then be the government's stand, they said.
But, in an indication of what most ministers think, Sibal and four other ministers had opposed the inclusion as it is against the basic framework of the Constitution and parliamentary democracy while the civil society members in the joint drafting panel had insisted on it.
Sibal and Narayansami were confident that the bill, once vetted by the standing committee, would be unanimously passed by Parliament as it already incorporates some provisions of civil society's jan lokpal bill and the suggestions of political parties and leaders.
Claiming that the government is committed to fight corruption and would immediately enforce the lokpal bill once it is passed, Sibal also sought to signal that the menace is pervasive.
He cited the "disturbing" reports of land scams in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka - ruled by the JD(U)-BJP, the BSP and the BJP respectively.
Referring to the lokayukta's report indicting Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa over illegal mining, Sibal said: "BJP will have ...to accept the truth and whatever decision the lokayukta has taken, BJP should take steps on it based on morality. This is a matter of corruption and is serious," he said.
Sibal also dismissed the civil society's referendum on the PM issue in his constituency as "neither a referendum nor a survey.