Govt not engaged in any back door talks with Ramdev: Moily | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt not engaged in any back door talks with Ramdev: Moily

india Updated: Jun 11, 2011 19:32 IST

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The government is not engaged in any "back door" dialogue with yoga guru Ramdev, who went an indefinite fast on the issue of repatriation of black money, Union law minister M Veerappa Moily on Saturday said.

"There is no back door and open door talks with any one. Whether it is Ramdev or anyone," he told reporters in Bangalore.

However, Moily evaded reply when asked whether the government has sought the help of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar for negotiations with the yoga guru to end his eight-day old agitation.

Offering his clarifications on a reported statement by Ravishankar that he had been asked to hold talks with Ramdev, Moily said "Sri Sri Ravishankar spoke to me from Berlin and also upon his return to the country and asked me what is happening. He expressed his concern over what is happening and said he would speak to Ramdev."

Moily said told him that since he would be visiting Haridwar to perform certain pooja for his father who passed away recently he would ask Ramdev why he "reneged" on his promise to call off the fast despite the government accepting all his demands.

"Sri Sri asked me whether he can cite my name during talks with Ramdev to which I agreed," Moily said.

On being insisted for a clear response on whether Ravishankar was the government emissary, Moily remarked "I don't want to get into any kind of controversy. I have no comments on such things."

Ramdev, continuing his fast at his ashram in Haridwar since he was evicted by Delhi police from the Ramlila Grounds along with his supporters on June 4, was admitted to a hospital in Dehra Dun on Friday after his health worsened.

Lashing out at BJP for its attack on the UPA government over corruption and black money, Moily accused the party leaders of trying to become "heroes" in the eyes of public after "doing nothing" during the NDA regime.

"NDA Government slept for seven to eight years and no action was taken to retrieve black money. Now they are trying to become heroes," he charged.

Moily claimed the government had so far retrieved about Rs 35,000-Rs 40,000 crore black money stashed away in foreign banks, entered into agreements with about 63 nations to introduce double taxation clause and ratified UN resolution on curbing corruption.

He asserted that it was the UPA government that took steps to enact "a strong" lokpal bill before Anna Hazare entered the scene, and ratified the UNO resolution to end corruption.

Moily said the government had drafted the lokpal bill and but for the intervention of Hazare, it would have been introduced in Parliament in the last session itself.

He suggested to the lokpal bill committee members, including Hazare, to discuss all issues pertaining to the bill within the committee and not outside.

Moily said the lokpal bill would be drafted by June 30, and will be brought before cabinet and later introduced in Parliament.

However, he said, "It is a legislative measure and not a Constitutional amendment."

"It is left to the Parliament to take a decision on it", he said apparently referring to the August 15 deadline set by Hazare for enactment of the act.

The law minister said many of the states have responded to the Centre's query on lokpal bill.

On whether BJP ruled states had sent in their replies, he said "BJP is not interested in it. They are interested in street fight".

Moily apparently opposed inclusion of Prime Minister's Office under the purview of the bill.

"This is an era of RTI. If someone files a complaint before Lokpal against the Prime Minister, any person with sensitive nature cannot continue (in the post). This is a matter the country should resolve", he said.