Team Anna has failed to substantiate the allegations of irregularities it has levelled against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in allocation of coal blocks when he held the Coal Ministry, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has said in a sharply worded letter to social activist Anna Hazare.
In the five-page letter, Minister of State in the PMO V. Narayanasamy, while listing the steps taken to check corruption, rejected Team Anna's demand for a special investigation team to probe the issue.
With Mr. Hazare threatening to go on fast once again from July 25 and Baba Ramdev — against whom several cases of corruption are pending — making the rounds of ministerial homes pleading that action be taken against black money, the government — as also the Congress — has decided to resume its battle for the air waves.
The allegations against the Prime Minister, the letter said, were based “on a leaked draft of the CAG … and on media stories,” with no evidence to back them up.
Pointing out that all details of the policy and procedures followed for coal block allocations were placed in the public domain by the Coal Ministry, the letter said, “All decisions were taken in public interest on the basis of legal provisions and relevant policy in force.”
Rejecting the demand for a special investigation team, it said, “… the existing legal and statutory framework has adequate and sufficient provisions for addressing the issues raised by you.”
The Minister described Team Anna's assertion that topmost institutions of the country such as the Supreme Court, the High Courts and the CAG had levelled allegations against Ministers from time to time, as “not only vague but [also] unacceptable.”
The letter comes in the wake of Mr Hazare's associates Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan writing to the Prime Minister, demanding the setting up of a special investigation team to probe corruption charges against 15 Ministers, including the Prime Minister, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
Team Anna members had selected portions of a CAG draft report to question the Prime Minister's role in the allocation of coal blocks.
Not content with shooting off the letter, Mr. Narayanasamy lambasted Team Anna in Chennai on Saturday.
Shortly after landing in the city, he told journalists: “Anna is a simple man, but he is surrounded by anti-national elements and people who have been supported by foreign forces.”
Attacking Mr. Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, he asked: “What happened to the huge sums of money collected during last year's [anti-corruption] agitation?” He also recalled that Ms. Bedi herself faced allegations of bloated travel receipts last year, while describing Team Anna members as a set of “self-proclaimed” leaders, who had not faced elections and yet wanted to destabilise the government.