New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has rejected allegations of corruption levelled against him by Team Anna and cautioned its members that their actions would amount to over-reaching a judicial process. In a letter to Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, hours after he demanded a special investigation team to probe allegations of corruption against 15 ministers of the UPA government, Mr Krishna reminded that the matter referred to was sub-judice and the Supreme Court had put a stay on it. Sources close to Mr Krishna said he would file a defamation case against Mr Kejriwal if there was no satisfactory reply.
Team Anna however denied getting any notice from the External Affairs Minister so far. Anna Hazare's close aide Prashant Bhushan said, "We will welcome if he will give defamation notice to us. If he had not done anything wrong then why is he afraid of investigation."
This comes after Team Anna demanded a separate investigating agency to investigate cases related to corruption charges against 15 ministers today, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. The anti-graft group, which has threatened to launch an indefinite fast from July 25, has picked up portions of a draft CAG report to make charges against the prime minister when Coal Ministry was with him.
Anna Hazare and his close aides sent a letter to Dr Manmohan Singh seeking setting up of an independent Special Investigation Team with three retired judges as it members to investigate the charges. This is the first instance when Team Anna made allegation of corruption against the Prime Minister.
"We will wait till July 24. If the government does not take steps to (set up SIT), we will go on an indefinite fast from July 25," activist Arvind Kejriwal told reporters today in Delhi.
Besides the Prime Minister and Mr Mukherjee, the ministers against whom the Team Anna has demanded probe include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, Minister for Science & Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Virbhadra Singh, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan, Minister of New & Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, Fertilizer and Chemical Minister M Alagiri and Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Congress, on its part, also dismissed the allegations as "unsubstantiated averments" that need not be responded to. Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, "I do not need to give an answer to unsubstantiated averments."
He said this is not the first time such things have been said and answered. Mr Tiwari also referred to a report in a newspaper that Ms Bedi has written to Anna Hazare complaining against NGO led by Mr Kejriwal not using funds properly. The Team, some of whose members have been accused of financial misconduct, denied the report.
In the letter, they said the SIT should also investigate charges against BSP supremo Mayawati, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa. They also said that the SIT can investigate charges against Team Anna.