The bonhomie shown after anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s first round victory on redrafting the Lokpal Bill is showing signs of fading away. Hazare wrote a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday to protest the “smear campaign” against his associates.
Defending the co-chair of the joint drafting committee, lawyer Shanti Bhushan, who had been shown in an anonymous audio CD as offering to fix a judge, Hazare asked Gandhi to stop her colleagues from derailing the Bill drafting process.
He said, “When blatantly false accusations are made, fabricated CDs are planted, one feels the purpose is not an honest public scrutiny but tarnishing reputations.”
Although Hazare wrote that “people can see through what is happening”, home minister P Chidambaram said, “I have been assured by Delhi Police that there will be a free, fair and thorough probe... The CD will be examined in at least two different labs for separate reports.”
Meanwhile, Shanti Bhushan filed a contempt of court petition against former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh for allegedly fabricating the CD. Singh returned fire by announcing that he would also file a similar case against the lawyer.
In his letter, Hazare obliquely accused Congress leader Digvijay Singh and telecom minister Kapil Sibal of derailing the Bill drafting process and reiterated his demand for video recording the meetings of the joint drafting committee to prevent mischief.
He asked Gandhi whether Singh's attacks on his campaign had her support and approval. "Most of his statements are factually wrong, which makes one believe whether his only intention is to create confusion."
On Sibal, he said, "He falsely accused us of having succumbed to government's pressure within the committee and that we had diluted the law." Sibal's office, however issued a release denying the charge that he had held any media briefing after the first meeting of the committee on Saturday. "The statement attributed to him (Sibal)… is patently false. No such statement was ever made by Mr Sibal."