Soni defends PC in Ramlila Maidan crackdown



New Delhi: Union minister Ambika Soni on Friday defended her cabinet colleague P Chidambaram in the last year's midnight crackdown at Ramlila Maidan, saying that the Supreme Court had only held Delhi Police and yoga guru Ramdev's organisation responsible for the incident.

"Why should the Home Minister (Chidambaram) be considered responsible when the Supreme Court has named two entities, which were held responsible for the happenings," Soni said when asked by reporters here.

"The entities named were Delhi Police and Swami Ramdev's organisation, so where does the question of the Home Minister being responsible come up," she added.

Responding to another question, Soni said the Election Commission had the right to decide what action it should take on complaints of model code of conduct violation.

"It is the Election Commission's right to decide what steps they want to take. I know a notice was sent to (Congress leaders) Salman Khurshid and Beni Prasad and both had presented their side of story to the Election Commission. They said they had no intent of violating the code of conduct.

"What decision the Election Commissioners has taken is acceptable, I cannot comment on their decision," the Information and Broadcasting minister said.

When asked to comment on Anna Hazare's proposed anti-corruption crusade, she said, "One is free to take up causes to which one is committed. It does not only apply to a person like Anna Hazare ji but to every Indian citizen. The constitution gives us the right to have our own convictions and commitments and to fight for them."

Responding to a question on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement regarding foreign hand in the Koodankulam protests, Soni said that the PM must have spoken about it on some sound basis.

"Whatever the Prime Minister has said, he obviously said it on the basis of inputs which he has received. I, as an individual minister, am not privy to those inputs. The Prime Minister when he says something, you can be rest assured, is based on solid inputs he has," she said.

"Dr Manmohan Singh is not given in to making frivolous comments. So when he says something, please take it seriously," she added.

PTI