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Put me in jail if I am a traitor, Hazare tells government

June 12, 2012 18:17 IST
The Congress-led government at the Centre is trying to divert attention from the Lokpal Bill and its intentions are not genuine, Anna Hazare said on Tuesday.

"The government is dithering on a strong legislation to curb corruption. Its intentions are not genuine," Hazare said, addressing a press conference at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

"The Prime Minister's Office says the Lokpal Bill draft has been prepared in consultation with us, our colleagues. They are misleading the people," Hazare said.

"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.

The reason why there is no brake on corruption is that there are flaws in the government's legislation, Hazare said.

On criticism that he was anti-national, Hazare said, "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.

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.

There is no foreign hand in our agitation, Hazare said.

Hazare also rubbished allegations levelled by the minister of state in the PMO, V Narayansamy, and ridiculed the minister's statement that he has no will to fight the battle against corruption.

"Punish me if I am guilty," he said, asking the government to show proof of foreign funding in his movement.

"We were cheated in the standing committee and in Parliament over the draft of Lokpal Bill," he said.

"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.

The government is diverting attention from the Lokpal Bill, he said.

"Another thing, (on) the coal scam of the prime minister, the government says it (the charges by Team Anna) is based on the CAG report and that there is no evidence. We want to say that there cannot be smoke without a fire," Hazare said.

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