Team Anna's graft allegations against the UPA's presidential candidate and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee appears to have united the political class against it once again with the BJP on Monday attacking it for trying to become a "super constitutional authority".
The development came on a day when Mukherjee's office sent a strongly worded 9-page point-by-point rebuttal to all Team Anna members, including Hazare. But Arvind Kejriwal stepped up the attack and released documents in support of his allegations.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi attacked Team Anna, saying it should not make sweeping statements. "No one should attempt to become a super constitutional authority by compelling anybody before contesting election to take a no-objection certificate from them," Naqvi said.
There were, however, differing voices within the BJP on the issue. "A person who is going to occupy the high post of president should come clean on allegations of civil society and clear the air," said party MP Shatrughan Sinha.
Mukherjee's office trashed Team Anna's allegations, terming them “false, unfair, self-seeking, malafide and made with ulterior motive”.
Referring to Kejriwal's allegations against Mukherjee related to the multi-crore Scorpene submarine deal, Ghana rice export scam and the Navy war room leak case, his office said,"It is highly unfortunate that Team Anna that claims to represent high standards of ethical behaviour has thrown its professed moral ground to winds."
Mukherjee's office said Team Anna member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan had filed PILs in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court in 2006, seeking a probe into the allegations.
“He is now seeking to agitate in a non-judicial forum what he has been unable to achieve through a constitutional process …. The complaint sent to the Prime Minister does not mention that he (Bhushan) is an advocate in the PIL or that the matter is sub-judice...,” the minister's office stated.
Kejriwal hit back immediately, saying Mukherjee and his office were cleverly trying to sidestep the fact that the high court ordered a CBI probe on the PIL. “If what is being defended is correct, then why was a CBI probe ordered ?," he asked. "Anyone aspiring to become the President should be above board, why is there a fear in facing an independent probe?”.