Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan has defended his allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and reiterated his demand for a special investigation team to probe the charges against him and 14 other ministers.
Reacting to the Prime Minister's assertion that he would quit public life if any allegation of corruption against him was proved to be true, Bhushan also clarified on his comparing Manmohan Singh to mythological character Shikhandi in the Mahabharata epic who is used as a shield.
"If the Prime Minister is serious about what he said, he should accept the offer of a special investigation team for probing the allegations we have made and 14 other ministers," Bhushan told news channel CNN-IBN.
"We can't trust CBI with this probe, and in absence of Lokpal, we have suggested the committee," he said.
On his comment of comparing prime minister to Shikhandi, he said: "I said that the Prime Minister's clean image is being used as a shield".
His Team Anna colleague Arvind Kejriwal also said Bhushan never meant to call the Prime Minister Shikhandi.
"He never called the Prime Minister Shikhandi, he just said the prime minister was being used as a shield, the way Shikhandi was used," Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, a rift seem to appear in Team Anna when key member and former Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice (retd.) N. Santosh Hegde said that he was not party to the decision to target Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues.
"I am not party to the decision-making process. If I don't agree to a decision and if I don't express my view, then I am left presumed to be party to the decision," he told reporters in Bangalore, adding he does not know the content of the charges levelled against ministers.
Another senior team member Shanti Bhushan meanwhile said the allegations against the prime minister 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.
Team Anna had 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 Saturday.