Hazare neck deep in corruption, alleges Congress (Lead)

August 14th, 2011 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Launching a blistering attack on Anna Hazare ahead of his Aug 16 fast, the Congress Sunday alleged he was “neck deep in corruption”, and said the social activist needed to be “shown his place”.

“We want to ask Kisan Baburao Hazare alias Anna that with what face do you talk of fast against corruption. You are involved in corruption from top to bottom and we are not saying say this, this has been said by a probe panel which was headed by a former Supreme Court judge,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari told mediapersons.

Angered by the contents of Hazare’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in which he accused the United Progressive Alliance of adopting “dictatorial stance” and asked the prime minister “with what face will he unfurl the tricolour” at the Red Fort on the Independence Day, the Congress went all out to attack the social activist.

“The Lokpal bill has gone to the standing committee. He (Hazare) was invited before the panel which had representatives from several political parties…One stance inside and another outside. It (his words) are not an insult to the government but parliament,” Tewari said.

He said Hazare’s words were also an insult of the tricolour.

Referring to remarks of a US State Department spokesperson, Tewari said the “irresponsibility” shown by Hazare had given chance to foreign countries to make a comment on the government.

“The fast on Aug 16 is neither on Lokpal bill nor corruption,” Tewari said and challenged Hazare to first give replies to charges made in the Justice Sawant Committee report.

“The nation wants to know,” he said and asked Hazare’s colleagues in the drafting committee Santosh Hegde and Shanti Bhushan if they had sought replies from the activist.

Asked on the about-turn in the Congress party’s attitude towards Hazare, Tewari said several agitations were held in the country and the government tries to find a way out through talks.

“When you cross boundaries of decency, it is not only disrespect to the government but to parliament,” Tewari said, accusing Hazare of crossing “the Lakshman rekha”.

“If someone was suffering from a combination of grandeur and grandstanding, then he needs to be shown his place. That’s precisely what we have done today,” Tewari said.

He also accused Hazare of trying to spread unrest.

“If someone thinks that creating unrest is their birthright, then there has to be political response,” Tewari said.

He said the Justice P.B. Sawant Committee had gone into four of the organisations associated with Hazare, including Hind Swaraj Trust.

He said the trust had also been faulted for wrong “alienation of land”, and added that Hazare had not furnished accounts of a trust for two decades from 1982 to 2002.

Referring to another trust associated with Hazare, Tewari said the report had stated that some of workers were abusing its platform for anti-social activities such as extortion, blackmail, harrassment “and goondaism”.

The Sawant Committee was set up by the Maharashtra government to probe Hazare’s allegations of corruption against four state ministers, but one of the ministers had made counter allegations against the social activist.

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