Sunday, 27 May 2012

Team Anna charges PM and 14 other ministers with graftt

Team Anna charges PM, 14 ministers with graft
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, May 27 (CMC) Renewing its battle with the UPA government, Team Anna on Saturday attacked the top brass of the Congress led UPA leveling corruption charges against prime minister Manmohan Singh and 14 other cabinet ministers, including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram.
They demanded a probe into the charges by an independent special investigative team to be formed under the chairmanship of three retired senior judges.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said they have sent documents regarding the 15 cabinet ministers to Manmohan Singh. They have sent 79 “chargesheets” along with a letter addressed to the PM and set June 25 as deadline for the government to act on their demands.
The letter includes names of six retired judges. The activists want the government to select any three them to head the proposed investigation committee.
“We want setting up of a special investigation team which would probe the charges against the ministers within six months. If such a probe is not initiated, we will launch a nationwide movement on July 25,” said Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal said the same team can also look into all allegations leveled against Team Anna members and if anyone of them is found guilty, they could be given twice the punishment.
Claiming that the demand is a step towards the formation of a strong Lokpal, the activists cited reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and media to level charges against the ministers.
The activists alleged that when Manmohan Singh held the coal portfolio between 2006 and 2009, coal blocks were given away at throw away prices, which allowed private firms to make windfall gains.
“Facts clearly show that Dr Singh abused his position to give huge pecuniary benefits to private parties, which is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Therefore the matter needs a thorough independent investigation,” the Team Anna’s chargesheet says.
Bhushan said, “The PM has a clean public image. He should be happy to order an independent probe to clear his name.”
Chidambaram has been charged for his role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam and for FIPB approval of the Aircel-Maxis deal, while Pranab Mukherjee was alleged to be involved in the Scorpene submarine deal scam.
The other ministers named in Team Anna’s chargesheet are agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, external affairs minister SM Krishna, urban development minister Kamal Nath, heavy industries minister Praful Patel, science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, telecom minister Kapil Sibal, law minister Salman Khurshid, shipping minister GK Vasan, new and renewable energy minister Farooq Abdullah, chemical and fertilizers minister MK Alagiri, power minister SK Shinde, and micro and small enterprises minister Virbhadra Singh.
However, the Congress described the charges as diversionary tactics. “This is their way of responding to reports about internal differences in their team. What is there to respond about the so-called charges that they are leveling? They have been repeating these baseless allegations for quite some time, and some of the ministers have even initiated legal proceedings,” said party spokesperson Manish Tewari.

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