New Delhi: Team Anna on Saturday clubbed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee with 13 other Cabinet ministers, whom they accused of corruption, which the Congress dismissed as “unsubstantiated averments” that need not be responded to.
The anti-graft group, which has threatened to launch an indefinite fast from 25 July, has picked up portions of a draft CAG report to make charges against Singh when coal ministry was with him. They had never made allegations against the Prime Minister before.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Besides Singh and Mukherjee, the ministers against whom the Team Anna has demanded probe by an independent Special Investigation Team include P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, S M Krishna, Kamal Nath, Praful Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Virbhadra Singh, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, G K Vasan, Farooq Abdullah, M Alagiri and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Dismissing allegations levelled by Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan and Kiran Bedi at a press conference, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, “I do not need to give an answer to unsubstantiated averments.”
He said this is not the first time such things have been said and answered. “It is not necessary that every unsubstantiated averment needs to be responded to.”
Tiwari also referred to a report in a newspaper that Bedi has written to Hazare complaining against NGO led by Kejriwal not using funds properly. The Team, some of whose members have been accused of financial misconduct, denied the report.
Hazare and his close aides sent a letter to Singh seeking setting up of an independent Special Investigation Team with three retired judges as it members to probe the charges. They suggested that the government could select the judges from a panel of Justices Sudarshan Reddy, A K Ganguly, A P Shah, Kuldeep Singh, J S Verma and M N Venkatachellaiah.
In the letter, they said the SIT should investigate charges against the 15 “corrupt” ministers as well as those against party chiefs Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad and Jayalalithaa.
They also said that the SIT can investigate charges against Team Anna. “We will wait till 24 July. If the government does not take steps to (set up SIT), we will go on an indefinite fast from 25 July,” activist Arvind Kejriwal told reporters.