In yet another reflection of strains in Team Anna,former Karnataka Lokyukta Santosh Hegde today dissociated himself from the corruption charges levelled against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 13 ministers saying he was not privy to the material against them.
“I do not have the material that Team Anna has as I was not in the meeting (where the issue was discussed). Without studying the material against the ministers,I do not want to comment on it or associate myself with it,” he said.
He also disapproved of a certain word reportedly used by Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan to attack Prime Minister for not acting against corrupt ministers.
“It is not proper. You don’t use such words against the Prime Minister,” he said.
On the Team Anna’s allegations about External Affairs Minister S M Krishna being involved in the illegal mining scam when he was the Chief Minister of the state,Hedge said he did not find any material which implicated him.
“When I was inquiring,the material that I got,implicated the then mining minister (V Muniyappa) and some high officials of the forest and mines and geology departments. I have named them. I did not find any material which implicated Krishna”.
“Now the team (Anna) says they have more material which implicates Krishna and they want further inquiry. It is for them to decide. In this background,I have nothing to say”,Hegde,whose report on illegal mining led to the exit of BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa as chief minister last year,said.
This is not the first time that Hegde,a former supreme court judge,has struck a discordant note from Team Anna. He had earlier distanced himself from the team’s anti-Congress campaign in Hissar Loksabha by-election in Haryana.
Targeting the Prime Minister for the first time,the Team Anna had recently levelled allegations over the allocation of coal blocks when the Coal Ministry was under him and clubbed him with 13 other ministers who it alleged were corrupt.
Need to save Anna from his team: Khurshid
With Team Anna appearing to be in disarray,Law Minister Salman Khurshid today took potshots at them saying there was a need to save Anna Hazare from his group of anti-graft activists.
“There is a need to save Anna Hazare from these people as much as there is a need to save the country from corruption,” Khurshid told reporters when asked to comment on fresh allegations of corruption made by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal against some ministers.
“He did not name any one of them (Team Anna),” Khurshid asked the questioner.
The minister’s remarks come at a time when reports appeared in a section of the media that Kiran Bedi had written to Hazare about alleged mismanagement of funds by Kejriwal’s NGO Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF). Both Kejriwal and Bedi have denied the reports.
“In this country,only the ministers should be probed and not anybody else. He (Kejriwal) had said that all IT officials are dishonest. Only one IT officer was honest and he left the department,” Khurshid said.
Kejriwal,a former Indian Revenue Service officer,resigned rpt resigned as Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax department.
Recently,Team Anna accused top UPA ministers including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram of corruption and demanded setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe the charges.