The prime minister's office (PMO) on Saturday rejected the demand for an independent probe into the corruption allegations against Manmohan Singh and 14 cabinet colleagues while its junior minister called Team Anna, which had levelled the charges,"anti-national".
V Narayanasamy, minister of state in the PMO, wrote to Hazare that his team had not provided evidence to back its allegations."The tone and tenor of your letter and the broad and sweeping nature of the statements made are unacceptable," the letter said.
Narayanasamy later targeted Team Anna in Chennai."Anna is a simple man, but is surrounded by anti-national elements and people who have been supported by foreign forces," he alleged.
Hazare had on May 26 written to the Prime Minister, claiming corruption in the allocation of coal blocks when he held the portfolio between 2006 and 2009. He also charged 14 cabinet ministers with massive corruption. Among them are finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram.
The PMO said the allegations against Singh were based on a"leaked" draft of a CAG report as well as media reports."When the final CAG report is tabled in Parliament, the government will submit detailed responses before the Public Accounts Committee as per constitutional procedure," Narayanasamy said, adding that the Central Vigilance Commission had referred complaints on the coal block allocations to the CBI.
Narayanasamy said there was no need for a special investigation team probe or fast-track courts to deal with cases against tainted MPs. The present system, he said, was sufficient to deal with such issues.
Team Anna challenged the PMO's defence."The (PMO) letter is trying to prove there is no corruption in the country, all ministers and officers are working honestly and we are unnecessarily creating a ruckus over corruption," said member Manish Sisodia.
The BJP demanded an extensive probe into the coal block allocations."A letter (from the PMO) isn't enough. Even in the 2G spectrum scam, the PMO and cabinet ministers had claimed there was no (revenue) loss," party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Meanwhile, former coal secretary PC Parakh added to the row by telling a TV channel that while the Prime Minister could not be blamed, he could have put his weight behind an auctioning system for coal blocks.