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Team Anna charges Manmohan, Chidambaram, Pranab of corruption

Team Anna charges Manmohan, Chidambaram, Pranab of corruption

New Delhi: Team Anna Saturday charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 14 cabinet ministers of "massive" corruption and asked for an independent probe, but the Congress described the charges as "unsubstantiated".

Besides Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna also figured in the 79 - page document prepared by Team Anna purportedly showing their alleged involvement in various cases.

"We have sent the documents to the prime minister. An independent probe should be marked into the allegations, which include around 14 cabinet ministers," lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is a leading member of Team Anna, told reporters here.

He was accompanied by other members Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi.

Team Anna questioned the role of Manmohan Singh in the coal scam which recently came to light. The prime minister was in charge of the coal portfolio from November 2006 to May 2009.

According to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), mining rights for coal blocks had been allocated without auctioning them and this led to massive profits for some chosen private firms.

"Under his watch, a major coal allocation scam took place, which allowed private firms to make windfall gains, as is clear from the facts that are now out in the public domain and the report of the CAG," said the documents released by Team Anna.

Team Anna said that during his tenure as finance minister, Chidambaram overruled the officers of his own ministry who favoured auction, market-based pricing of spectrum, and instead allowed the 2G scam to take place.

Bhushan also said Mukherjee during his tenure as defence minister did not order any investigation in the Scorpene submarine deal with France despite the media's detailed expose in the issue.

"We demand that the government conduct an independent enquiry in all these matters. And if nothing happens, there will be a movement from July 25, in which people will decide what to do," said Kejriwal.

Responding to the allegations Congress spokesperson, Manish Tiwari said: "these are unsubstantiated and it is not the first time such things have been said and we don't need to respond to it."

Other cabinet ministers named by Team Anna include union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Virbhadra Singh, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M.K. Alagiri, and Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.


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