New Delhi: With Team Anna accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of corruption, the Congress party Wednesday hit back and said his image is beyond reproach. “The prime minister is the leader of the country… His image is beyond doubt… Anybody levelling charges of corruption against him and claiming proof thereof should go to the police station instead of approaching the media,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters here.
He said the language used by Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was unfortunate and deplorable. Team Anna had last week charged the prime minister and 14 cabinet ministers of “massive” corruption and sought an independent probe into the charges. Team Anna also questioned the role of Manmohan Singh in the coal scam unearthed by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG).
The prime minister held the coal portfolio from November 2006 to May 2009. The prime minister reacted strongly Tuesday saying he would quit public life if the allegations were proved.
Faced with this direct attack, Team Anna Wednesday said it had the “deepest regard” for him but wanted to know where a first information report (FIR) could be registered against an allegedly corrupt minister. “We have the deepest regard for the prime minister… but we want to know which agency can register an FIR against a minister,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal told reporters at his residence in a Delhi suburb. Kejriwal also wondered “why the prime minister had overlooked the advice of the coal secretary to auction coal blocks”. Team Anna member N. Santosh Hegde also Tuesday distanced himself from the group’s demand for a probe.
Congress sources said the prime minister’s reaction was required to silence the baseless allegations and the media hype around it.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal said Anna Hazare and his associates would participate in yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s fast here June 3 to mark the first anniversary of his forcible eviction from the Ramlila Grounds where he was protesting against corruption.