New Delhi, June 9: The Prime Minister’s Office has firmly rejected Team Anna’s demand for a special investigation team to look into allegations it has made against top cabinet ministers.
In a letter to Anna Hazare, V. Narayanasamy, the minister in the PMO, said: “Your demand for the constitution of an SIT has been considered, as also the terms of reference suggested by you. Having regard to the fact that the existing legal and statutory framework has adequate and sufficient provisions for addressing the issues raised by you, your demand cannot be acceded to.”
Sources said the Congress core committee had discussed this issue at its last meeting and cleared such a response.
UPA ally Nationalist Congress Party too backed this stance today, with Sharad Pawar asking Team Anna to drag him to court by filing an FIR instead of maligning him in public. Pawar is on Team Anna’s list of “corrupt ministers”.
The government is upset by Team Anna’s propaganda against 15 senior members of the Union cabinet, including the Prime Minister, as the case is built on hearsay and media reports. Although Team Anna has sought a probe into the charges, it has termed them “tainted” and “corrupt” in public discourse. It has even demanded that cases be filed against these ministers.
Narayanasamy’s letter says: “I must regret that your statement that ‘top-most institutions of the country like the Supreme Court, High Court, CAG etc. have levelled these allegations (against the ministers) from time to time’, is not only vague but unacceptable. The tone and tenor of your letter and the broad and sweeping nature of the statements made are also unacceptable.”
The minister also termed as baseless the insinuation that “an understanding has been reached by the Government with Mulayam Singh to hush up ongoing CBI enquiries”. “It is unfair to the Government, Mulayam Singh and the CBI and an insult to the judicial system,” the PMO letter said.
The PMO also rejected the demand for special fast-track courts to handle cases of allegedly tainted MPs. Narayansamy’s response was: “The matter has been considered but cannot be acceded to since Government and the judiciary both monitor the pendency of cases in various courts.”
This letter was in response to the communication by Hazare on May 26 in which he made the allegations and demands.
Refuting Hazare’s charge that investigating agencies cannot be trusted as the government controls them, Narayansamy said: “Agencies like CBI, ED, CAG and CBDT continue to function independently as per their mandates. In fact, the term of this Government has been especially marked by zero interference in the functioning of these agencies. CAG has functioned in an unfettered way in conducting audit of various departments.”
Although the minister welcomed suggestions from civil society, including Team Anna, to bring greater probity in governance and public life, the letter said: “The Government is determined to ensure that baseless and uninformed allegations made against public servants are not allowed to create fear that can lead to paralysis in decision-making and slow down growth and development.”
The letter added: “As regards the allegations made against the Prime Minister, they seem to be based on a leaked draft of the CAG on coal block allocations and on media stories. You have provided no evidence to back up these allegations and you have yourself said that you are not making these allegations.
“All details of the policy and procedures followed for coal block allocations have been placed in the public domain by the coal ministry and can be seen by all by going to the link http://coal.nic.in/welcome.html. All decisions were taken in public interest on the basis of legal provisions and relevant policy in force.”