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Govt opposed to PM under Lokpal: Sibal

New Delhi: Government on Saturday said prima facie it was opposed to the inclusion of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal but was open to the idea to cover him once he demits office.

"Within the government, we feel prima facie, the Prime Minister should not be covered (under the Lokpal). But at the same time we want to make sure that if he demits office, he should not be exonerated from prosecution," HRD Minister Sibal told a news channel.

At the same time, he said the government will only decide on the issue after the draft bill goes to the Cabinet.

Sibal`s comments came two days ahead of the the final meeting of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill.

However, he said, the five ministers in the joint drafting committee were willing to be persuaded to bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of the anti-corruption legislation if the civil society side gives a compelling argument.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has publicly stated that he was open to the idea of bringing the post under the Lokpal, Sibal said it was not the question of "an individual, Manmohan Singh but it`s about an institution".

Arguing against the inclusion of a Prime Minister in office under the ombudsman, the minister said, "Which Prime Minister in office anywhere in the world has been prosecuted in the world? Please tell me, please give me an example."

He said people rallied behind Anna Hazare during his protest as they were upset with corruption but most of them do not know what is Lokpal Bill.

"Anna Hazare is like the `Pied Piper of Hamelin`. The tune is lilting and people were upset with corruption just as government is. We want to deal with it. But those who follow him, where they say corruption should be deal with, do not know what the Lokpal Bill is," he said.

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