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CD War: Anna seeks solidarity from Sonia, Bhushan moves court

Monday April 18, 2011 09:30:51 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare Monday urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to join hands with him to "defeat" the corrupt even as Hazare aide Prashant Bhushan and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh were locked in a verbal war over a controversial CD.

Having forced the government to set up a panel to draft a tough Lokpal Bill with a hunger strike that shook the country, Hazare told Gandhi that corrupt forces were trying to derail the anti-corruption drive.

"The developments of the last few days have been a cause for concern. It seems that corrupt forces in the country have united to derail the process of drafting an effective anti-corruption law," Hazare said.

"Together we have to defeat their designs," he told Gandhi.

The letter came in the wake of controversies surrounding a CD of a purported telephonic conversation between Shanti Bhushan, co-chair of the joint committee meant to draft the Lokpal Bill, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh.

The CD has a man said to be Shanti Bhushan telling the two politicians that a judge could be "fixed" for Rs.4 crore. Both Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant, both of whom are among the five civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee, have denied meeting Amar Singh.

Bhushan's Petition

Shanti Bhushan Monday filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Amar Singh.

Prashant Bhushan said they wanted a special investigation into what he said was a fabricated CD.

The petition said the CD was fabricated for several reasons. One was to derail the hearing of key cases including the 2G spectrum scandal which is pending before the apex court, Prashant Bhushan said.

A livid Amar Singh denied doctoring the CD and demanded an independent verification of Shanti Bhushan's voice sample.

Shanti Bhushan, a former law minister, has already filed a police complaint saying the CD was fabricated and urged the police to investigate the matter.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Delhi Police would ensure a "fair" probe into the episode.

Hazare alluded that the aim behind the CD was to derail work related to the 10-member panel set up to frame a Lokpal Bill aimed at battling corruption in high places.

"One of their strategies is to smear the reputations of the civil society members in the committee. When blatantly false accusations are made, fabricated CDs are planted, then one feels the purpose is not an honest public scrutiny but to tarnish reputations," Hazare said in his letter.

He also referred to the comments by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh about Hazare and asked Gandhi if she approved his statements.

"One of the general secretaries of the Congress has been making many statements in the last one week. I assume he has the support of the party to make such remarks.

"Most of these statements are factually wrong, which makes one believe whether his only intention is to create confusion, mislead people and derail the ongoing discussions in the joint committee. Do you personally approve of his statements?" he asked.

Hazare added: "I would urge you to advise your colleagues not to try to derail the process of drafting the law... I fear the consequences if the process were derailed."

The Congress backed Digvijay Singh, saying that public discourse should not be a one-way traffic.

"In a democracy, everyone is entitled to his view point", Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said.

Hazare in another letter written denied reports that he had shelved the Aug 15 deadline for a decision on Jan Lokpal bill.




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Picture of the Day

Farooq Naikwadi, a counselor for Civil Services exams, addressing a workshop on the topic at Abdullah Ash Shae Auditorium, Mansoora in Malegaon April 09, 2011




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