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Maharashtra: P B Sawant refuses to head probe panel

August 19, 2003 04:42 IST

Former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant on Monday night declined to head the single-member judicial inquiry commission to probe charges of corruption levelled against four Maharashtra ministers by noted Gandhian Anna Hazare, and the counter-charges against the social activist.

The ministers are Sureshchandra Jain, Dr Padamsinh Patil, Dr Vijaykumar Gavit and Nawab Malik.

"I have withdrawn my consent to head the judicial probe panel," Sawant told PTI in Pune. The retired Judge said he has sent a letter to this effect to Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

Sawant said he was taking the step in view of reported statement by Hazare, who had demanded a three-member committee, that he would not co-operate with a single-member probe panel.

In a letter faxed to the chief minister, Sawant said, "It pains me to write this letter. In the very beginning, I had declined to probe the charges of corruption against four ministers and the counter charges against Hazare. I agreed only at your insistence without expecting any remuneration."

"The reaction which were expressed by Hazare regarding my appointment indicated his distrust in me. In view of this, I have lost the interest in the whole matter and hence I am withdrawing the consent to head the judicial probe. My taking this decision could create some problems for the government. However, there is little I can do in this regard," he said.

"I am forced to take this decision to safeguard my own dignity, the grace of the post which I have held and also the decorum and respect of the judiciary," Sawant added.

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