Activist Anna Hazare and his team escalated their fight with the UPA government on Saturday by accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for first time in corruption cases.
Team Anna cited portions of a draft the CAG’s report to bring charges against Singh when coal ministry was with him. They had never made allegations against the Prime Minister before.
Team Anna also threatened that it would begin an indefinite fast from the next day if the government failed to meet the deadline set of initiating the probe.
“We will now wait till July 24 to see what the government does. What we have demanded is only an independent probe into the allegations,” said Hazare associate Arvind Kejriwal.
The Congress party dismissed team Anna’s “so-called charge-sheet”, saying such unsubstantiated allegations did not deserve a response.
“It is not necessary that every unsubstantiated averment needs to be responded to,” said Congress party spokesperson Manish Tiwari. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the issue.
Party sources, however, did not rule out the possibility of legal actions being taken by some of the ministers named in the list against Hazare and his colleagues. External affairs minister SM Krishna has already confirmed that he will file a defamation suit against team Anna.
Besides Singh, Mukherjee and Krishna, the ministers against whom team Anna demanded an independent SIT probe include P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, Kamal Nath, Praful Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Virbhadra Singh, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, GK Vasan, Farooq Abdullah, M Alagiri and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Team Anna said it was prepared to face any legal action the government and ruling party might want to take. “These are not allegations levelled by us. Our documents are based on the findings of the CAG, court documents and responsible media stories,” said Team Anna’s Prashant Bhushan.
Kejriwal said all documents in support of the charges had been submitted to the PM, who has also been asked to order a probe into allegations against Hazare’s aides. The letter has also been signed by Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and Manish Sisodia.