‘Charges against PM not irresponsible’
IANS NEW DELHI TEAM Anna member Shanti Bhushan on Tuesday said allegations levelled by them against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were not irresponsible as the PM was party to wrongdoings like the 2G scam and was in charge of the coal ministry when another scam occurred.
“I don’t think that allegations against the prime minister were irresponsible. He held the portfolio of coal when the major scam happened,” Bhushan told Times Now channel.
“Even (former telecom minister and 2G scam prime accused) A Raja was protected by the prime minister and it was after the Supreme Court’s ruling that the minister was sent to jail,” he alleged.
Team Anna had on Saturday charged the prime minister and 14 cabinet ministers of “massive” corruption and sought an independent probe into the charges.Team Anna questioned the role of Manmohan Singh in the coal scam which recently came to light. The prime minister was in charge of the coal portfolio from November 2006 to May 2009. According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), mining rights for coal blocks had been allocated without auctioning them and this led to massive profits for some chosen private firms.
“Under his (Manmohan Singh’s) watch, a major coal allocation scam took place, which allowed private firms to make windfall gains, as is clear from the facts that are now out in the public domain and the report of the CAG,” said the documents released by Team Anna on Saturday.
Clarifying the confusion regarding Anna Hazare describing PM as an honest man, Prashant Bhushan said most of the documents describing the role of the prime minister in these scams are in English and Hazare cannot read the language.
“So these large numbers of documents have to be translated into Hindi to enable him to go through it. It is not possible to translate all these documents that fast so that he could read it. He knew the larger points like the specific charges against certain ministers.
“But on the Prime Minister, he did not know the whole matter. But he has full faith in us that we are doing the right thing, that the panel has vetted it,” Bhushan said.
Another activist Arvind Kejriwal said Hazare knows about “all the issues” and if he wants to see the documents regarding Singh, they will show it to him when he comes to Delhi. “When he came to Delhi for the March 25 protest, he was briefed about the charges against each and every minister.
We wrote letters to ministers regarding the allegations after the instruction from Anna,” Kejriwal said.
He said they had raised charges on coal scam and had named Sriprakash Jaiswal but later they came to know that he was not in charge of the Ministry. Kejriwal said they all speak to Hazare and even on Tuesday, he spoke to him and briefed him about the fresh allegations they were going to raise against External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.
Responding to a letter written by Krishna to Team Anna, Bhushan said that the Minister’s contention that Supreme Court has ordered a stay into the investigations on dereservation of forest land in Karnataka does not in any way detract from the need for an independent investigation into the matter.