NATIONAL

Hazare reiterates demand for CBI probe

MUMBAI AUG. 10. Social activist Anna Hazare, on a fast-unto-death at the Azad Maidan here, today reiterated his demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into his charges against some Maharashtra Ministers, while the Civil Supplies Minister, Suresh Jain, also on a fast demanding investigations into Mr. Hazare's several trusts for alleged irregularities, sought an inquiry by the State CID. The State Government was said to be unwilling to expand the proposed one-judge panel to probe the charges.

Mr. Jain, who did not go to Jalgaon for the funeral of his younger brother, Satish Jain, said, "I have spoken to my mother and she has permitted me to continue with my fight for restoration of my reputation besmirched by allegations of corruption by Mr. Hazare." "She sees my need to continue with my battle", and "I shall remain here."

Encouraged by the growing support from his Nationalist Congress Party, whose chief, Sharad Pawar, "has given me his blessings", Mr. Jain said, "this has to go to its logical end".

He complained that Mr. Hazare "keeps changing his stand".

"Now, because the BJP is backing Mr. Hazare, he wants a CBI, not a judicial probe.

The BJP is ruling at the Centre and the CBI is a central agency."

According to the Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde's aides, there are no plans to call on either Mr. Hazare or Mr. Jain.

Mr. Hazare's studied effort is to keep the agitation focussed on issues of empowerment, transparency and accountability because, "the lack of it causes agony to the common man".

He keeps telling his followers that "India became free and then a Republic but the English rulers have been replaced by our own, but insensitive people. This should end once the right to information, the right to recall elected representatives of the gram panchayats and more powers to gram sabhas are put on the statute and practised".

While more politicians, including Padamsinh Patil, another of Mr. Hazare's targets, visited Mr. Jain's camp, those who called on Mr. Hazare were mostly commoners who stood on the sidelines, heard his press conference and even clapped.