Kiran Bedi backs amended Lokpal Bill draft, says most concerns met

Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and activist Kiran Bedi has backed the amended Lokpal Bill draft even as anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal has rejected the bill.

Speaking to a TV channel on Friday, Bedi said that most of the concerns have been addressed in the new draft and it is time to give up the opposition. In a tweet late last night Bedi wrote "It will do us no harm if we begin with proposed lokpal and v keep improving it as we go along!Being very high powered it will carry weight!"

Anna Hazare had on Thursday rejected the amended Lokpal bill approved by the Union Cabinet as a "farce" and announced he will launch another agitation if the government went ahead with the enactment of a "weak" legislation.

The 75-year-old anti-graft activist also questioned UPA government's commitment to root out corruption in the country, saying he does not "trust" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to bring a stringent Bill for creating an anti-corruption ombudsman.

"Both PM and Sonia Gandhi can no more be trusted to bring a stringent Lokpal bill to root out corruption ... Had they been committed to the issue it would not have taken two years to take a concrete decision in this regard," Hazare told reporters in Patna.

Civil rights activist Arvind Kejriwal questioned why government is making a law which is compassionate towards corrupt people.

"Why have you so much compassion in your heart for corrupt people. This is beyond understanding. It is because all these political parties have corrupt people," he said, questioning why legal assistance will be provided to people accused of corruption.

"It is written everywhere that corrupt people have to hire their own lawyers but for the first time in this bill it is mentioned that government will provide legal assistance to people accused of corruption," he said.

He further added that government does not provide any such legal assistance to poor people.

"The entire law is to protect corrupt people. I challenge the government whether it can send even a single corrupt person to jail with this law," Kejriwal said.