Team Anna on Tuesday tried to play down the differences amongst them and produced more documents to highlight the alleged role of Union Minister S.M. Krishna — when he was the Chief Minister of Karnataka — in de-reservation of forest land for mining by private corporations.
Even as Team Anna members Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal produced documents, letters, Cabinets Notes etc. at a press conference here, the then Karnataka Lokayukta and core committee member of the team Santosh Hegde said in Bangalore that he did not find any material that implicated Mr. Krishna. He, however, added he had “nothing to say” on the team members' claim that they had more material in hand that needed to be investigated.
Team Anna has demanded the formation of a special investigation team to probe the role of the Prime Minister and 14 members of his Cabinet while corruption cases took place during their tenure and allegedly within their knowledge.
Barely had Team Anna lived down the charge that social activist Anna Hazare was not on the same page as them on targeting Dr. Singh, core committee member Mr. Hegde also distanced himself from the alleged comments that compared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Shikandi, who was used as a shield by the Pandavas against the Kauravas.
Attempting to explain the issue, Mr. Bhushan said Mr. Hazare, who was touring Maharashtra, was not aware of the “whole matter” regarding the Prime Minister. “There are a large number of documents in English that have to be translated into Hindi for Mr. Hazare to go through them. This takes time.”
Another member of Team Anna said that initially it was believed Sriprakash Jaiswal was the Minister concerned when coal blocks were privatised, but it turned out that the Ministry was held by the Prime Minister during the period. According to them, they had written to all the accused Ministers earlier this month on the charges but none had replied, although Dr. Singh was not on the list then.
Mr. Hazare is reported to have said that he had not seen the documents against the Prime Minister and would seek clarification when he comes to Delhi early June.
At a separate press conference here, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said Mr. Hazare needed to be saved from his team.
“There is need to save Anna Hazare from these people as much as there is a need to save the country from corruption,” Mr. Khurshid said when asked about the fresh allegations made by Team Anna members against some Union Ministers.