Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay was on Thursday at the centre of a storm he had created with his comments on the killing of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare with the opposition parties demanding his removal but he remained unfazed.
"I owe explanation to none. I have not not said anything which has embarrassed the government and the Congress party. In fact, I have helped the government," he said responding to the uproar in Parliament and outside over his comments questioning the circumstances in which Karkare was killed by Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai on Nov 26.
Opposition members in both the Houses of Parliament created an uproar raking up the demand for his sacking from the Cabinet for his "irresponsible statement" and a statement from the Prime Minister.
The minister, who was seated in one of the ministerial benches in the Lok Sabha, was seen smiling and did not not respond to opposition members' attack on him.
However, the Leader of the Lok Sabha and Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee said in the afternoon that "we will respond may be tomorrow...Before the House adjourns next week we will respond." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seated beside Mukherjee.
As speculation mounted over whether the Congress party would act against him, the Congress appeared to be backing him when it said he has already explained his position in the Lok Sabha and his remarks have been "blown out of proportion distorted".
The minister himself was unapologetic over his statement and said he has not not met anyone neither party President Sonia Gandhi nor the Prime Minister. With the opposition members demanding a statement from the Prime Minister on the Antulay issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said "government will examine the statement and respond accordingly".
Antulay had yesterday raised doubts over the killing of Karkare by Pakistani terrorists, suggesting a link with the Malegaon blasts that were being investigated by him.