New Delhi: Justice Santosh Hegde on Tuesday disassociated himself from corruption charges levelled by Team Anna against 15 Union Ministers including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
“I am unaware of the proof Team Anna has against the union ministers including the Prime Minister. I don’t know the basis on which the charges were made”, Hegde, a prominent Team Anna member said.
He, however said, "If the contents indicate the involvement of the particular ministers and acceptable to me, then I will go with them. But since I do not know, I am not compelled to put my tongue and chin into it”, he added.
Team Anna last week clubbed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with 13 other Cabinet ministers, whom they accused of corruption.
The anti-graft group has picked up portions of a draft CAG report to make charges against the PM.
Besides Singh and Mukherjee, the ministers against whom the Team Anna has demanded probe by an independent Special Investigation Team include P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, SM Krishna, Kamal Nath, Praful Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Virbhadra Singh, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, GK Vasan, Farooq Abdullah, M Alagiri and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan, yesterday, hit out at PM saying, "Congress using the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a Shikhandi to hide corrupt dealings”.
The former Karnataka Lokayukta said that the comments against PM was completely “unwarranted”.
Interestingly Gandhina Anna Hazare, appeared to distance himself from the move to target PM saying he is an “honest man” though some ministers in his cabinet are “corrupt”. Hazare had said that he will seek clarification from the team.
Meanwhile, Bhushan sought to play down Hazare's reservations on the issue saying Hazare was not aware of the "whole matter" regarding the PM and the team will apprise him about it.
“Most of the documents are in English and Hazare cannot read the language…So these large number of documents have to be translated into Hindi to enable him to go through it. He knew the larger points like which minister has what charges against him and all”, he said.
"But on the Prime Minister, he did not know the whole matter. But he has full faith in us that we are doing the right thing," he said.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid took potshots at Team Anna saying there was a need to save Hazare from his group of activists.
"There is a need to save Anna Hazare from these people as much as there is a need to save the country from corruption," Khurshid told reporters here.
The Opposition BJP also had asked Team Anna to exercise restrain over its language while criticising the PM.
“Any use of improper words against the PM is not acceptable. Members of Team Anna will have to exercise control over their language,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said.
First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 17:17