M A I N   N E W S

PMO rejects Team Anna’s demand for SIT probe into graft charges
KV Prasad/TNS

New Delhi, June 9
Strongly rejecting allegations of corrupt practices levelled by Team Anna against the UPA government, the Prime Minister’s Office today emphasised its demands to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or fast track courts could not be accepted.

Responding to the letter to PM Manmohan Singh, the government made a point-by point rebuttal underscoring that the “tone and tenor” of the May 26 letter of social activist Anna Hazare and its broad and sweeping nature of statements were “unacceptable.” Interestingly, while the government’s response through Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy refrained from a counter-attack, the minister chose to fire a salvo at Team Anna charging that Hazare was surrounded by “anti-national elements.” “Anna is a simple man, but he is surrounded by anti-national elements and people who have been supported by foreign forces’’, the minister was quoted to have told the media at Chennai airport.

As for the demand by Hazare to set up a SIT to go into allegations of corruption against senior ministers and some top political leaders, the letter said it cannot be acceded to since existing legal and statutory framework has adequate provisions for addressing the issues.

To specific allegation on allocating coal blocks at throwaway prices during time when the Prime Minister held the portfolio between November 2006 and May 2009, the minister said they seem to be based on a leaked report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and media stories. “All details of the policy and procedures followed for coal block allocations have been placed in the public domain by the Coal Ministry... All decisions were taken in public interest on the basis of legal provisions and relevant policy in force’’, the letter said providing a link to the Coal Ministry website. He said when the final CAG report is tabled in Parliament the government would give a detailed response before the Public Accounts Committee.

Referring to the recent Central Vigilance Commission direction to the CBI to carry out preliminary inquiry on coal block allocations filed by an Opposition MP and some others, the minister said the CBI would carry out the probe fairly and independently and said Hazare’s “insinuations and allegations’’ against the investigative agency were both “unwarranted and unjustified’’.

In the same breath, Narayanasamy said Hazare’s statement that “top most institutions of the country like the Supreme Court, High Court CAG etc, have levelled allegations [against the ministers] from time to time was not only vague but “unacceptable’’. The minister also took exception to the allegation by Hazare that the government has arrived at an understanding with Mulayam Singh Yadav to “hush up” CBI cases against him.

The government re-emphasised its commitment to fight graft in public life and listed the series of legislative and administrative measures it has undertaken. Team Anna member Manish Sisodia said its plans to launch an indefinite fast on July 25 remains in place. “The government is trying to show off and fool people by using hollow words like progressive laws will be enacted’’.

The Govt response

  • The PMO said the SIT cannot be set up to look into graft charges against ministers as the existing legal & statutory framework has adequate provisions for addressing such issues
  • On demand for forming special fast track courts to deal with cases of ‘tainted’ MPs, the PMO said it cannot be accepted since both the government and the judiciary monitor the pendency of cases in courts
  • On ‘coalgate’, the PMO said charges were based on media stories





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |