Will resign if charges proved, Manmohan tells Team Anna
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said he would quit public life if Team Anna could prove that there’s even an iota of truth in its charges of corruption against him. Pramit Pal Chaudhuri reports. PM enters the ring | Opinion on PM divides Team Annadelhi Updated: May 30, 2012 01:46 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said he would quit public life if Team Anna could prove that there’s even an iota of truth in its charges of corruption against him. “The country can give me any punishment.”
On Saturday, Team Anna came out with a set of graft charges against 15 UPA ministers — including Singh for the first time.Asked about the other ministers on the list, Singh said, "I have said all I want to on the matter."
Many of the charges followed media reports of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) draft report supposedly claiming irregularities in the allocation of coal mining blocks to private companies when Singh was in charge of the coal ministry between 2006 and 2009.
Following the PM’s statement, Team Anna asked him to order an independent probe by a special investigation team. “The only way to establish who is right is to have an impartial probe,” said one of Anna Hazare’s associates, Arvind Kejriwal.
Visibly agitated about the accusations while returning from Myanmar, Singh indicated he wanted to be judged by Parliament alone.
“Those who level such charges,” he said, should provide evidence. “My public career as finance minister, leader of the opposition and prime minister is an open book.”
Earlier, Singh read from a prepared statement about the CAG’s report on the coal mine allotments, pointing out that the allegations were being made on the basis of some leaked sections of a draft CAG report that “the government has yet to receive.”
Complaining that "uninformed allegations and discussion based on leaked drafts are unfortunate”, Singh said the coal ministry had already given its responses to even these charges on its website and the government would respond to any charges before the public accounts committee.
"The Indian public should make up its mind if this type of politics should rule the roost in the country,” he said in an indirect criticism of Hazare and his movement.
At a lighter moment, asked if he was interested in the presidency, Singh smiled and said, “I'm happy where I am.”
First Published: May 29, 2012 20:35 IST