New Delhi, Dec 18: Rubbishing reports that he met the Prime Minister to hand over a written explanation about his controversial remarks on ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s death, Union Minister AR Antulay on Thursday virtually challenged the Congress party by claiming that he owed no explanation to anyone.
He also claimed to have neither met Sonia Gandhi nor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today to offer any explanation.
His open defiance is definitely turning out to be a major embarrassment for the government when it is going all out to tackle terror.
On the other hand, understanding the graveness of the situation and demand for answers from the opposition, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha that government will respond to the Antulay remarks in this session itself.
Earlier in the day, there were media reports that Antualy had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted a written explanation about his remarks and pleaded that he had at no point questioned the martyrdom of the ATS chief.
Antulay had reportedly blamed the media for distorting his statement and he never meant what was made out to be in the end.
His rebelliousness has come as a surprise to many, as he is continuing his tirade even in the wake of the Congress high command asking him to explain the basis on which he made irresponsible remarks questioning ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s death while fighting the Mumbai attackers.
However, the Congress has steered itself clear from the controversy by claiming that the remarks are Antulay’s personal opinion and neither the party nor the government subscribes to them.
He being a senior leader of the party, sources said that the Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi is in favour of disciplinary action against Antulay.
Even Maharashtra’s newly appointed Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has gone on record to rebut any possibility of foul play in Hemant Karkare’s death and made it clear that there would be no probe into this matter.
The whole controversy erupted yesterday with Antulay, while taking to reporters outside Parliament, suspecting the truth behind Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad chief Hemant Karkare’s killing during the Mumbai attacks.
His divisive statement on such a sensitive issue sent ripples across the nation, with the Opposition seeking a clarification from none other than the Prime Minister itself.
Antualy had on Wednesday said, “There is more than what meets the eyes. Karkare was investigating some cases in which there are non-Muslims also,” an apparent reference to the Malegaon blasts case in which sadhvi Pragya Thakur and a Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit were 11 persons to be arrested.
"Superficially speaking, they (terrorists) had no reason to kill Karkare. Whether he (Karkare) was a victim of terrorism or terrorism plus something, I do not know," he added.