Asserting that Anna Hazare's allegations against him have no "factual basis", HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, one of the five ministers nominated to the joint committee to draft Lokpal Bill, on Monday termed as "patently false" the statements attributed to him.
Without naming Sibal, Hazare had written a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accusing him of holding "private informal debriefing session" for journalists to charge civil society members with "succumbing to government's pressure" after the first meeting of the joint committee last week.
Reacting to the allegations, the minister's office issued a clarification and said the statement attributed to him that "the civil society members have succumbed to government pressure" is patently false".
"No such statement was ever made by Mr. Sibal," it said.
The clarification said that after the first meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee with reference to the Lokpal Bill, and after the official briefing, Sibal held no meeting with journalists to debrief them.
"After the meeting, journalists followed him to his home and sought details about the meeting, which he refused to divulge....Journalists who came to his house sought a copy of the fresh draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill which had been handed over to the Members of the Committee and sought further details with reference thereto. Sibal refused to give a copy of the draft in question," it said.
"The fact that no debriefing took place is confirmed by journalists who were present in his house and have on air stated that the allegation made in Anna Hazare's letter has no factual basis," the minister's office said.
Hazare had alleged one of the ministers, who addressed the media on Saturday after the joint committee meeting, said it was "good".
But later, Hazare said, the minister held a "private informal debriefing session" at his house and "falsely accused" the civil society representatives of having succumbed to government's pressure within the committee and that the civil society have diluted the law".
"This was a completely false statement because there were no discussions at all on the law within the committee. His informal debriefing created confusion in the minds of people across the country. It appears that this debriefing was meant to send a message to public that we have been influenced," Hazare said in the letter to Gandhi.