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Jan 31, 2013 at 03:44pm IST

Cabinet clears the new revised Lokpal Bill, reserves Lokayukta appointments for states

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the new revised Lokpal Bill even though the Law Ministry raised objections to the draft. The amended draft leaves the appointment of Lokayuktas to the states. The revised bill incorporates a number of changes recommended by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, including appointment of the Director of Prosecution by the CVC.

The earlier bill had given this power to the Centre. The new bill also has extra protection for public servants giving them the right to present their view to the Lokpal. "Every state to have a Lokayukta within an year, said I&B Minister Manish Tewari.

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The government, however, has not accepted a key recommendation of the panel that an official facing an inquiry by the Lokpal should not be given an opportunity to be heard at the stage of the preliminary inquiry. The Select Committee, to which the controversial bill was referred in view of sharp differences between political parties, has recommended delinking of the creation of Lokayuktas from the Lokpal Bill.

The Rajya Sabha Select Committee had also said that the Lokpal could order a probe straightaway. NGOs, except religious organisations, will come under the purview of the Lokpal.

Slamming the government, AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal said, "Why does the government not fulfill one single demand and make the CBI independent. There is no point making committees after committees."

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare also demanded that the CVC and CBI be brought under the Lokpal. "I have written a letter to Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister asking whether CBI and CVC will be under the Lokpal. If they're not, how will we check corruption," questioned Anna.

(With additional information from PTI)