Team Anna tones down rhetoric against govt

Team Anna tones down rhetoric against govt

Team Anna on Wednesday scaled down attack on the Centre, days after triggering an outrage by charging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with giving away coal blocks at throwaway prices when he was holding the coal portfolio between 2006 and 2009.

Facing rift within the group and criticism from outside, Team Anna, however, stuck to its demand for a probe by an independent agency into the alleged irregularities.

“We do feel that the Prime Minister is honest and he might not have taken any direct benefit for himself. However, according to the CAG report, a scam did take place. Who was benefited by this? It should be investigated independently,” said Arvind Kejriwal.

"We will be most happy if the allegations against the Prime Minister are proved wrong. But it can be done only by an investigation through an independent agency,” he added, one day after Singh claimed to give up public career if charges levelled against him are proved true.

Referring to the CAG report that pointed out the irregularities, Kejriwal said: “Does the prime minister believe that the CAG is irresponsible? The CAG report says that the exchequer had a loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore in coal allocation scam.”

In a separate development, team Anna member and former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde supported the call for an independent probe. “It is extremely difficult for me to believe, having seen the prime minister all these years, to say that such an allegation could exist. But at the same time, if somebody has said it is in documentary form, I think an inquiry should be held.”

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