Wrong to call me anti-national: Anna
Ralegan Siddhi: Trashing allegations that his movement against corruption is foreign funded, Anna Hazare today hit back at the UPA daring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to spell out which are the external forces behind it. "It is wrong to call me anti-national. The government says I am a traitor. If I am, then put me in jail," he said.
Addressing a press conference here, Hazare said allegations against his team were to divert attention from the demand for a strong Lokpal bill and that if anti-corruption crusaders are viewed in this way, it is unfortunate. "They (ministers) said that there are foreign powers behind Team Anna. They blame us but who are these foreign powers. They did not tell. What foreign power, which country, they did not tell. Such false accusations are not right," he said.
"If the Prime Minister sees the anti-corruption activists as anti-nationals, that is unfortunate for the country. If the Prime Minister feels that foreign powers are behind Team Anna, then it is necessary that he clearly tell the citizens who are those forces," he said. Hazare said a common person levelling allegations was a different matter but when PMO levels such charges it is serious. "You have such a huge network of intelligence, why don`t you work on it," he said.
Though he does not believe that Singh or his family took money in the coal bloc allocations, Hazare, however, added there will be "no smoke without fire" and whether the Prime Minister was "not seeing the smoke". "It is clear from CAG report that there was huge loss and somebody has been benefitted. Who are they?" he said. Referring to PMO letter which said Team Anna has not given any evidence, Hazare said the CAG has reported everything. "If there is smoke, then there is some fire.
Haven`t you seen the fire? You should have understood that there was fire when you saw smoke," he said. "Punish me if I am guilty," Hazare said, asking the government to show proof of foreign funding in his movement. There is no foreign hand in our agitation, Hazare said. Hazare denied the charge that his movement had not submitted accounts of expenditure. "We have audited our accounts and posted it on the internet. Your party also collects so many funds, why are you not giving the statement of accounts to the people," he said.
Hazare also rubbished allegations levelled by the MoS in the Prime Minister`s Office, V Narayansamy, and ridiculed the minister`s statement that he has no will to fight the battle against corruption. "We were cheated in the standing committee and in Parliament over the draft of Lokpal Bill. Two days ago, we were told by the PMO that there is no evidence to substantiate charges against the 14 ministers. We have also sent the files to Sonia Gandhi, so that she can also read it, to see what your ministers are doing," Hazare said.
Hazare said Government`s intentions on coming out with a strong Lokpal are not genuine. "The government is dithering on a strong legislation to curb corruption. It`s intentions are not genuine," he said. "The PMO says the Lokpal Bill draft has been prepared in consultation with us, our colleagues. They are misleading people. "Last year, our draft was ready, the government`s draft was ready. They could have tabled both the drafts before the Cabinet. Why was time wasted? It is clear that they lack the will to enact a strong anti-graft Bill and are misleading the people," he said.
After 65 years of Independence, we still follow laws enacted by the British, he said. "What is the need of Official Secrets Act," he added. "The government is saying… the PMO is saying that many steps have been taken to eradicate corruption. In a democracy, when a legislation is made, people should be taken into confidence. Here, the government is making the draft and also enacting the legislation," he said.