Anna for independent probe against PM
PTI NEW DELHI PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh’s remarks that he will quit public life if corruption allegations against him by Team Anna are proved triggered a fresh round of sparring on Wednesday with the activists insisting on an independent probe, a demand rejected by the government.
“If the Prime Minister is an honest man, then he should be ready to face a probe.
Inquiry into charges against him should be headed by a former judge,” Anna Hazare told a TV channel.
However, Hazare said he always saw the Prime Minister as a non-corrupt personality, a view echoed by another Team Anna member Justice Santosh Hegde who noted that it is “extremely difficult” to believe that allegations against Singh could exist but said an inquiry can be held if there are documents to suggest any wrongdoing.
Hazare said he needed needed more time to study allegations levelled against the Prime Minister by his team.
Another Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said it was not they who came up with the charges but it was in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on coal bloc allocations.
“We will be most happy if the allegations levelled against the Prime Minister are found to be false. But how will it be proved? For that we need to have an independent investigating agency to probe it,” he told reporters.
“The Prime Minister has said that the allegations levelled against him were baseless, unfortunate and irresponsible.
We want to tell him that it was not we who levelled these allegations but the CAG, which is a Constitutional body,” he said.
Kejriwal said he would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he considered “irresponsible” the CAG report which is pegging a loss of Rs.
1.80 lakh crore to the exchequer in the allocation of coal blocs. On Singh’s remarks that the public should make up its mind whether Team Anna’s kind of politics will rule the roost in India, Kejriwal said they do not do politics.
“We are just common people who are affected by corruption and price rise. We oppose the kind of politics prevailing in the country.
Today’s politics is snatching the food from the children, forcing farmers to commit suicide when some ministers are given permission to indulge in scams and get more richer,” he said.
Another Team Anna member Justice Santosh Hegde said it is “extremely difficult” to believe that allegations raised by Team Anna against Singh could exist but demanded an inquiry if there are documents to suggest that some wrongdoing was done.
In his comments, Hegde said, “if there are materials that are there, I think an inquiry should be held.” Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, however, attacked Team Anna claiming that they had accused Singh of corruption and want him to be prosecuted but alleged that they have not specified under which section of Prevention of Corruption Act is he prima facie guilty.
He asked Anna Hazare to leave the group which is in the grip of “Naxalite-minded crazies” and join him and Ramdev in the fight against corruption. Kejriwal refused to respond to Swamy’s allegations saying they will not reply to such remarks.
Bhushan said Singh should have gone through the documents accompanying the ‘charge sheet’ before terming them as “irresponsible allegations..
He should respond to them on a point-by-point basis, fact by fact basis.” Another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said, “PM is first among equals. If his equals are under a cloud as a leader of the team it is good leadership to set up an SIT to know the truth. If PM is clean, he can come out clean. Please submit to investigation. It shall be the lawful way to disprove CAG’s deductions,” she said.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid ruled out setting up a Special Investigation Team of retired judges as demanded by Team Anna. “We are not going to cowdown,” he said.
“I don’t think we can have for anybody, forget about ministers and certainly Prime Minister, media trials. We can’t have street trials. We are in the country where rule of law prevails,” he said.
Team Anna said Khurshid’s reaction was like the accused himself ruling out the investigation.
Stepping up attack on Team Anna, Congress also dared it go to police and court instead of making allegations through media.