After a series of attacks by the Opposition over spiralling prices, Congress MP from Gonda and former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma has now criticised Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over the issue, saying his statements are adding “fuel to the fire”.

“Lakhs of tonnes of sugar has been exported without a proper assessment which has led to price hike and under this scenario the statements of Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar have added fuel to fire,” Beni Verma told newspersons here on Thursday night.

He also urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order a thorough probe into the reasons which have led to unprecedented price rise in the country and punish all those responsible, even if it involves state governments or Union Ministers.

“It would be better if the Prime Minister constitutes an expert committee to probe the reasons behind the unprecedented price rise and punish all those found responsible for the same, whether they are from state governments or Central ministers,” Beni said.

Cautioning the government against taking this problem lightly as it would tarnish the image of the Congress, Beni said after the meeting of the chief ministers on January 27, an expert committee should be constituted after deliberating all the aspects related to the issue.

Also blaming the Uttar Pradesh government for the crisis, he said it has failed to check the movement of sugar and food grains to Nepal which has led to price hike in the state.