Justice (Retd) PB Sawant, who probed Anna Hazare’s trust for financial irregularities in 2004 and found that Rs 2 lakh had been diverted from its accounts for the social activist’s birthday celebrations, came out in support of the agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“What I probed was certainly a case of corruption. But Hazare accepted that it was a mistake, so he can certainly go ahead with the agitation,” Sawant told Hindustan Times in Pune.
Sawant was asked by the government to probe the allegations of corruption made by Hazare against then ministers Suresh Jain, Nawab Malik, Padamsinh Patil and Vijay Gavit. The government also asked Sawant to probe Hazare’s Hind Swaraj Trust.
Hazare charged Jain with irregularities in Jalgaon District Cooperative Bank and Malik with involvement in a property scam. Patil was accused of irregularities in cooperative banks and sugar factories controlled by him, while Gavit was accused of favouring his supporters in a scheme for the destitute.
Sawant’s probe cleared Gavit and indicted the rest, who had to resign.
On Thursday, Jain, who was with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) when he had to resign but is now a Shiv Sena legislator, accused the social activist of corruption and demanded his withdrawal from the movement.
“My fight with Hazare will continue. I too can make allegations against him,” said Jain.
Malik challenged Hazare to contest the elections and use the democratic route to fight corruption. Malik said: “There was corruption in Hazare’s trust, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.” However, Malik did not speak in the Assembly on Thursday.
Jain, who no longer shares cordial relations with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, congratulated him for quitting the Lokpal Bill draft committee. “Everyone knows about out strained relations, but I have the guts to say that Pawar is a sensitive politician,” said Jain.
He was applauded when he slammed citizen activists and the media for “defaming” elected representatives.