The South Asian Times

22 October 2018 19:16 PM

Government digs heels in as Team Anna raises heat on graft

New Delhi : A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh threatened to quit public life if Team Anna could prove its corruption allegations against him, the face-off between the two sides escalated.

The government on Wednesday rejected Team Anna’s demand for a special investigation team to probe the corruption charges against Singh and 14 cabinet ministers.

“We’re not going to cow down...I don't think we can have media trials... street trials for anybody, forget about ministers and certainly the Prime Minister. We are in a country where the rule of law prevails,” said law minister Salman Khurshid, one of those in Team Anna’s list of the corrupt.

Hazare’s associates immediately hit back. “The accused himself is declaring there will be no investigation. Is this the kind of democracy we want?” asked Arvind Kejriwal, a key Team Anna member. The Congress too jumped in, daring Team Anna to approach the police and take legal recourse instead of making allegations through the media.

Team Anna posed four questions to the PM in response to his statement that the corruption allegations were irresponsible.

“We will be most happy if the allegations against the PM are found to be false. But how will that be proved? We need an independent investigating agency to probe it,” Kejriwal said.

“We want to tell the PM it’s not us but the CAG — a constitutional body — that has questioned the allotment of coal blocks to certain private parties,” he said. The Prime Minister’s Office released a seven-point rebuttal from the coal ministry on the allegations.

“The coal blocks for captive end use were allotted on the basis of recommendations of a screening committee, which followed a fair and transparent procedure giving equal opportunity to all applicants,” read the statement posted earlier on the ministry’s website.

Update: 31 May, 2012