New Delhi (Agencies): Strongly rebutting Team Anna’s allegations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday offered to quit public life and face any punishment if charges on coal block allotments are proved.
“Let the people of India decide as to what crime the Prime Minister has committed for which such hard and harsh words are being used against him,” asked Manmohan Singh reporters on his way back from Myanmar.
“If I have indulged any such misdeed, then my entire public career, be it as Finance Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha or as Prime Minister…whoever levels allegations in this regard should substantiate it,” said Manmohan Singh.
He said it was unfortunate that irresponsible allegations relating to irregularities in allocation of coal blocks are being made without confirming facts. “If there is even an iota of truth in it, then I will give up my public career and the country can give me any punishment,” he said, adding his public life has been an open book.
Manmohan Singh deprecated use of harsh words against him by Team Anna. “To use such words, which have been used without reason or rhyme, I think, the public in India should make up its mind whether this sort of politics will rule the roost in the country,” said Manmohan Singh.
This is Prime Minister’s first reaction to Team Anna members Prashant and Shanti Bhushan’s allegations last week accusing him of corruption for the first time when they referred to a draft CAG report on allocation blocks when he held charge of Coal ministry.
He also termed as “unfortunate and irresponsible” the corruption allegations levelled against him and 14 of his ministerial colleagues by Team Anna.
Meanwhile, the attempt to play down the deep division within Team Anna is not meeting with success. After a huge difference on the issue of Anna Hazare joining Baba Ramdev in his June 3 fast at Jantar Mantar, the team is divided over the issue of targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Neither Hazare nor senior member Justice Santosh Hegde approves of the latest move of team members Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan.
Gandhian activist Hazare described the prime minister as an ‘honest man’ soon after his team added Singh’s name to the list of 14 ‘corrupt’ ministers last Saturday. He said he would seek clarification from the team.
In Bangalore, Santosh Hegde said on Tuesday that “I do not have the material that they (the team) had sent to the PM seeking investigations. I said I do not have to do anything with those allegations. “I am not party to the decision-making process. If I don’t agree to a decision and if I don’t express my view, then I am left presumed to be party to the decision,” he added. However, Hegde made it clear that he had no intention of walking out of Team Anna.
Team Anna presses anti-SMK charge
Team Anna has said that they are justified in their demand for an investigation into the alleged role of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in the dereservation of huge tracts of forest land for mining by private companies during his tenure as chief minister of Karantaka, reports DHNS?from New Delhi.
The team has responded to Krishna’s letter in which he accused it of not mentioning in its letter to the PM that he had obtained a stay order stopping the investigation ordered by a Special Court and the High Court of Karnataka. In its letter, the team had demanded the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the allegations against the Krishna ministry.