Gandhian hits back at PMO after it termed his team members anti-national
Hitting out at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for calling his team members anti-national, Gandhian Anna Hazare on Tuesday said that they should be arrested and punished if the allegation had any basis.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Hazare said the government had no will to bring in a strong anti-graft legislation.
“It is wrong to call me anti-national. If the government says I am a traitor, they have the powers to investigate. They have an intelligence network. Why don't they send me to jail?” Mr. Hazare asked.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy had stated on Saturday that Mr. Hazare was innocent, but was surrounded by antinational elements. He had also raised questions about the accounts of the amount of expenditure incurred during the anti-corruption agitation.
“There is no foreign hand involved in our movement. I have been clear about the expenditure. The audited accounts are available on the website,” Mr. Hazare said. He, in turn, questioned the Congress: “Your party also collects funds. Why don't you give the statement of accounts to the people?” he asked, adding that the government had no right to ask him about the expenses.
Mr. Hazare said the government was scared that his month-long Maharashtra tour was successful and was now trying to divert attention from the Lokpal Bill with baseless allegations.
On the charges of corruption that Team Anna levelled against 14 United Progressive Alliance Ministers, the PMO replied that there was a legal mechanism in place to probe them. Mr. Hazare asked why there was rampant corruption in spite of the mechanism. “One day the truth will come out. We have sent all 14 files to the Prime Minister,” he said.
Mr. Hazare said the people of the country had been betrayed. “At every stage of the Jan Lokpal bill, we were cheated: at the joint drafting committee, on the Standing Committee and then in Parliament. “People's opinion was never considered in the process of making a law. This is a democracy,” Mr. Hazare remarked.
On the allegation made by Mr. Hazare over corruption in coal block allocations, the PMO said: “All decisions were taken in the public interest on the basis of legal provisions and relevant policy in force.”
Mr. Hazare said: “It is clear from the CAG report that there was huge loss and somebody has benefited. Who are they?” There will be “no smoke without fire.”