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V. Narayanasamy says govt. will address allies Lokayukta concerns

New Delhi, Sat, 24 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar.24 (ANI): Mminister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Velu Narayanasamy on Saturday said here that the government would take adequate steps to address the concern of allies on the Lokayukta issue in the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Briefing media a day after an all-party meeting on the Lokpal issue, Narayanasamy said: "While the issue of Lokayukta can be given to the states, that was the major concern of our allies. They say that they will give the states to legislate on the Lokayukta (provincial ombudsman). But there was a sense of doubt on three issues, which others talked about when Anna Hazareji was going on fast. First, the Lokayukta should be under the Lokpal. Secondly, to bring the lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal. Third was regarding the issue of the Citizens Charter. The three issues were the major issues which came."

He added that the Prime Minister would take a final call on various issues related to the Lokpal Bill.

"It is for the honourable Prime Minister to ultimately take a decision on that. Apart from that, the other issues, the four to five issues that the other political parties have raised, they can be resolved by talking to them because consensus can be arrived at. The major issue of Lokayukta can also be settled," said Narayanasamy.

The bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha, was taken up for a discussion and vote in the Rajya Sabha on December 29 last year, which was also the last day of the winter session. But after a marathon debate that stretched until midnight, the vote failed to take place for lack of time.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, accused the government of shying away from the vote as it did not have the majority needed to pass it.

The ruling Congress party depends on fickle allies and independents for its majority. With a key ally objecting to certain sections of the bill and pressing for amendments, passing the bill appeared unlikely.

Multi-billion dollar corruption scandals have added to middle class frustration with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government's record on corruption.

Commenting on the multi billion dollar coal scam, Narayanasamy said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is yet to submit a final report on the matter.

A leading English daily had published parts of the report upon which the government responded by saying that the report had been misinterpreted.

Narayanasamy reiterated that it was too early to comment on the report of the CAG as the final report will emerge only after it was scrutinised by the parliamentary committees.

"There are thousands of draft reports in this country, not in the federal government but in the provincial governments. Right now the draft report is not final. Once the Public Accounts Committee and the Public Undertakings Committee scrutinizes the draft report, then it shall be finalised," said Narayanasamy.

The CAG said in its report that the federal government gave undue benefit and beneficiaries included private entities and public utilities, in industries such as power, steel and cement.

The published excerpts of the coal report stop short of direct accusations of graft, but will further drive home the impression of a government in freefall.

The surfacing of the coal scam renewed pressure on Singh, who is already reeling from corruption scandals.

Prime Minister Singh, who himself oversaw the coal ministry during some of the period in question, did not respond to questions by reporters at parliament on Thursday. (ANI)

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