Anna challenges PM to face any probe

   May 30, 7:14 pm

New Delhi, May 30 (ANI): Veteran social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday intensified his attack on the Prime Minister, saying if Dr. Manmohan Singh is honest, then he should be ready to face any kind of probe.

"The inquiry into charges against the Prime Minister should be headed by a former judge," he told a leading English news channel.

Hazare, however, said he needed time to study the allegations against the Prime Minister.

"I always saw the Prime Minister as a non-corrupt personality. I need time to study the allegations against the Prime Minister," he said.

Hazare's key aide Arvind Kejriwal earlier today said they would be extremely delighted if the allegations levelled against the Prime Minister are found to be false.

"We will be most happy if the allegations levelled against the Prime Minister are found false. But how will it be proved? For that, we need to have an independent investigating agency to probe it," said Kejriwal.

"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 Consitutional body," he added.

Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid had, however, hit out at Team Anna for demanding an independent probe into charges against the Prime Minister, saying it seems that the underlining urge of the civil society activists is that either bring the Lokpal Bill of our choice or be ready to face the accusations.

Commenting on the allegations made by Team Anna against senior Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, Khurshid said India is a country where the rule of law prevails, and emphasized that there is a system that has to be followed.

"Of course, they are making the allegations. We all read those allegations and we see those allegations. I don't think we can have trials for anybody, forget about ministers and certainly the Prime Minister, we can't have media trials, and we can't have street trials. We are a country where the rule of law prevails. There is a system. They are the same people, who have gone to the Supreme Court and the High Courts etc. and they have got matters investigated," said Khurshid.

"So, nobody stops them from going to institutions that are available. It seems to me that the underlining urge is that please give us Lokpal and give us the Lokpal of the kind that we want, otherwise we will keep accusing you of all kinds of things," he added.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had earlier on Tuesday termed as unfortunate the allegations made against him by Team Anna.

"There have been reports about the allocation of coal blocks based on leaked portions of a draft report on the issue. We have also recieved a letter on the same subject. The Coal Minister has given factual details in response to these allegations and the Coal Ministry has put up all the information on its website (on May 17th). We have not yet received the CAG report," Dr. Singh told media on-board press interaction enroute from Yangon to New Delhi

"When we do, the Government will submit its detailed factual response before the Public Accounts Committee as per Constitutional procedure. Uninformed allegations and discussions based on leaked drafts are unfortunate. It is unfortunate that irresponsible allegations are being made without confirming the facts," he added.

Dr. Singh also said that if it was found that he had done something wrong, he would not hesitate to quit public life.

Supreme Court lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan had earlier criticized the Prime Minister, saying that the ruling Congress Party had been using his honest credentials as a 'shield' while perpetrating corruption with brazen impunity.

Bhushan questioned the Prime Minister's perceived hesitancy in dealing with corrupt minister and coalition allies.

"The Congress party repeatedly hails the honesty of the Prime Minister. He is projected as an honest leader of the government. So, I had said the Congress party was trying to use the Prime Minister and his clean image as a shield, just like the character of Shikhandi was used in the Hindu epic Mahabharata," he said.

Bhushan further called for the establishment of an independent panel to probe the allegations of graft levelled against senior cabinet ministers. (ANI)

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