Terming the corruption charges levelled by Team Anna against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “reckless”, Minister for Planning Ashwini Kumar on Wednesday said the insinuations deserved to be treated with contempt.
“I would only like to say that even to rebut these disgusting insinuations is in a way giving respectability to those allegations. I would like, as a responsible citizen, to treat them with the contempt they deserve”, Mr. Kumar said on the sidelines of a function here.
Team Anna, for the first time last Saturday, had clubbed the Prime Minister with 14 of his Cabinet colleagues, calling them corrupt and demanded an enquiry.
The allegation against the Prime Minister was based on a leaked draft CAG report on coal block allocations between 2004 and 2009 when coal ministry was with Manmohan Singh.
The draft CAG report purportedly claimed that the nation lost a whopping Rs 10.7 trillion as undue favours were bestowed on some commercial entities.
The Prime Minister has rebutted the charge and said he would quit public life if the allegations were proved true.
Besides Dr. Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Cabinet ministers against whom Team Anna had demanded a probe by SIT included P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, SM Krishna, Kamal Nath, Praful Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Virbhadra Singh, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, GK Vasan, Farooq Abdullah, M Alagiri and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Asserting that national accomplishments must not be negated by reckless insinuations, Mr. Kumar said, criticising public figures had become an almost daily affair today.
“People must give a befitting reply to these self-proclaimed moral sermonisers, who must first look inwards and see whether they have the moral credentials to talk of public morality”, Mr. Kumar said, adding, freedom of expression has certain limits.
“Criticism becomes reckless when it is based on completely untenable and unsubstantiated facts...then it becomes destructive”, the minister said.
Alleging that Team Anna was indulging in “destructive practises”, he said, “I think what some members of Team Anna are doing is destroying a constructive national discourse“.
Pointing out that the final CAG report is yet to be out, he said, “if on the basis of certain leaked passages of a draft (CAG) report you want to orchestrate a national campaign against the PM, all I can say is that it is so reckless and motivated”.