Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday gave two entirely different versions in the Lok Sabha on the reasons that prompted the police to move the magistrate to review his earlier order to remand social activist Anna Hazare and his supporters in seven-day judicial custody.
In his statement to the House, Dr. Singh said the police approached the magistrate on the basis of information ‘received' that Team Anna intended to move the Supreme Court challenging the police orders and the petition was likely to be mentioned before the apex court on Wednesday for urgent hearing.
Responding to the discussion on the Prime Minister's statement, Mr. Chidambaram conceded in response to a specific question by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav that it was a “political decision” on his advice to the Police Commissioner. “When we heard that Shri Annaji has been remanded in judicial custody, I advised the Delhi Police Commissioner in the evening to go back to the magistrate to get the order reviewed,” Mr. Chidambaram said.
Dr. Singh in his statement said: “Late yesterday [Tuesday] evening, the Delhi Police received information that Shri Anna Hazare intended to move the Supreme Court challenging the orders of the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police also received information that the petition was likely to be mentioned before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, i.e. today, for urgent hearing.
“Since there were reasonable grounds to believe that Shri Anna Hazare had opted to seek legal remedies, the Delhi Police did not apprehend any imminent breach of peace or imminent disturbance to the tranquillity if the arrested persons were released. Hence, the Delhi Police moved the Magistrate concerned to review his earlier order and the Magistrate was pleased to release Shri Anna Hazare and the other arrested persons at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday.”