Hazare dares government to prove graft allegations (Lead)

August 14th, 2011 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Terming the government’s allegations of corruption against him as “baseless and false”, social activist Anna Hazare Sunday dared it to start a probe against him and said he will continue his fast until the charges are proved wrong.

“The government has made false allegations against me. The government so far had targeted all members of the civil society, including Shanti and Prashant Bhushan, Justice Santosh Hegde and Arvind Kejriwal, but me. Today they have targeted me,” Hazare told reporters here.

“All the corruption charges against me are baseless. I will continue my protest till my name is cleared of the charges as per the Justice Sawant report (on the probe into trusts run by him),” said Hazare.

“I will fast against the government Lokpal Bill on Aug 16 at JPN (Jayaprakash Narayan) Park as scheduled. We will take the protest to the states. We are ready to court arrest and face the bullets,” he said.

The Congress Sunday targeted the 74-year-old activist, saying he was “neck deep in corruption” and has no right to talk about fighting corruption.

“They (government) are liars and I am challenging the government to register a police complaint against me and start an inquiry. I am not afraid of any inquiry. I have decided that I will continue my fast till the false allegations against me are proven wrong,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari made the corruption allegations against Hazare citing the Justice Sawant Committee report.

Quoting the Justice Sawant panel report, Hazare said that nowhere has the report taken his name.

Announcing they will make all accounts of the anti-graft protest public within 24 hours, Arvind Kejriwal, an associate of Hazare, dared the Congress to declare the list of party donors in the past five years.

Stating that he will not let the anti-graft protest lose its momentum, Hazare said this was a now-or-never moment for the country. He exhorted people to reach the venue of his fast Aug 16 and protest in a peaceful manner.

Hazare’s associate and former police officer Kiran Bedi said they apprehend that there might be an attempt to disrupt their peaceful protest in order to defame them.

“None of our supporters will break the law or cause any damage to public property,” said Bedi.

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