Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid has revealed that anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had, at their meeting last month, agreed to publicly endorse efforts taken by the government to bring in a strong Lokpal Bill.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate, the Law Minister, however, added that it was clear that Hazare had not kept his word.
Below is an edited transcript of the excerpt from the interview:
Karan Thapar: What did you and Anna Hazare discuss during those two hours?
Salman Khurshid: I asked him what he was looking for. He said three things, that we said to you... Those three things are that there should be a Lokpal and a Lokayukta as well, so that states also get covered. All civil servants must get covered, meaning group A, group B, C and D. Initially we had wanted only groups A and B because we thought the Lokpal would become unwieldy with larger number of employees... and finally, that there should be a citizen's charter and grievances redressal forum and I said to him, we have already done this. I explained to him how.
Karan Thapar: What did he say?
Salman Khurshid: He said if that's the case, just write to us and say so.
Karan Thapar: According to what you have told Tehelka magazine, you apparently said that Anna said that when he received the final letter, he would hold a press conference and publicly say he was in agreement with the way the government had handled the Lokpal.
Salman Khurshid: Yes.
Karan Thapar: So that bit is true.
Salman Khurshid: That bit is true of course.
Karan Thapar: So he did say that when he gets the final letter he'll hold a press conference...?
Salman Khurshid: Yes, yes.
Karan Thapar: And endorse the way the government has handled the Lokpal?
Salman Khurshid: Yes, because there were no disagreements, so why would he not endorse it?