A day after he and his government came under fire for forcibly breaking up Ramdev’s anti-corruption protest, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday defended police action, saying there was no alternative and termed the incident as unfortunate.
These are the Prime Minister's first comments on the eviction of the yoga guru and his supporters from the Capital’s Ramlila Maidan early Sunday after a dramatic police swoop."It is unfortunate that operation had to be conducted but quite honestly, there was no alternative," Singh said when asked about the midnight purge, on the sidelines of a function organised by a Hindi daily. He did not elaborate further.
Singh denied the charge that the government was not serious about tackling corruption and black money. “The government is serious and we are concerned about corruption and black money. There is no doubt, but there is no magic wand.”
He also refused to join issue with the civil society members of the lokpal bill joint drafting committee over bringing the prime minister's office and higher judiciary under the purview of the proposed anti-graft watchdog.
Singh said the joint drafting committee was deliberating on the issue.
Anna Hazare and his team stayed away from Monday’s meet to protest against the Sunday's police action.
On allegations of corruption against union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran in telecom spectrum scam, the Prime Minister said the issue was being looked into by law enforcement agencies.
He, however, did not reply when asked if he had sought Maran’s resignation. Maran, who was the telecom minister from 2004-07 in UPA 1, has been accused of indirectly benefiting from pay-offs in a telecom deal, and favouring a particular firm in grant of telecom licences.