Consider plea for CBI probe against Team Anna: Court
The Delhi High Court Wednesday told the central government to consider within three months a plea seeking a CBI probe against Team Anna members for allegedly receiving funds illegally from abroad
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok to treat the petition, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, as a representation and dispose it off in three months after giving him a hearing.
The petition alleged that Team Anna members received foreign funds for their agitation on the Lokpal bill in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
The court also directed petitioner Sharma to submit a copy of his petition to the home ministry.
Sharma in his petition said that the FCRA mandated NGO members to seek permission from the central government to receive funds from a foreign company or organisation.
The petitioner presented a list of foreign companies and organisations which allegedly provided funds to Team Anna for the anti-graft agitation.
Seeking prosecution of the members of Team Anna, the petition said: "The court be pleased to declare the foreign-sponsored agitation as illegal, unconstitutional...."
Also on Wednesday, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal told reporters in Ghaziabad that they had "deepest regard" for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but wanted to know where a first information report (FIR) could be registered against an allegedly corrupt minister.
"We have the deepest regard for the prime minister...but we want to know which agency can register an FIR against a minister," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal also wondered "why the prime minister had overlooked the advice of the coal secretary to auction coal blocks".
The remarks came a day after a combative Manmohan Singh said he would quit public life if any allegation of corruption against him was proved.
Manmohan Singh's reaction came after Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan had attacked him personally Monday.
The Congress also Wednesday stepped up its attack on Team Anna for targeting the prime minister and dared it to approach police and take legal recourse instead of making allegations through media.
Congress spokesperson Raashid Alvi rejected Team Anna's demand for an independent probe into the charges, saying it was not possible for anybody to make an allegation and an inquiry was set up.
"If you make allegations against somebody, then there is a law and order mechanism in the country. You go to police and register an FIR instead of making allegations through media," Alvi said.
Team Anna member N. Santosh Hegde had Tuesday distanced himself from the group's demand for an inquiry against the prime minister.
A statement posted on the India Against Corruption website said: "We also feel that that the prime minister is honest and he would not have taken benefits for himself straight. But according to the CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General), there was a scam. Then who benefitted from it? This should be investigated independently…We want to tell the prime minister that we are not indulging in politics; we are common citizens of this country, who are suffering from corruption and inflation."
"If the minister, against whom there are allegations of corruption, says that he did not indulge in corruption or if the prime minister says that he did not indulge in corruption, then without an independent investigation, should the country accept the matter?"
Team Anna had last week charged the prime minister and 14 cabinet ministers of "massive" corruption and sought an independent probe into the charges.
Team Anna also questioned the role of Manmohan Singh in the coal scam unearthed by the CAG. The prime minister held the coal portfolio from November 2006 to May 2009.
Kejriwal said Anna Hazare and his associates will participate in yoga guru Baba Ramdev fast here June 3 to mark the first anniversary of his eviction from the Ramlila Ground where he was protesting against corruption.