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'PM ordered Anna's release after consulting Rahul'

By Onkar Singh
August 16, 2011 21:29 IST
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Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday evening asked Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta to revoke the detention orders against veteran activist Anna Hazare and all his supporters with immediate effect, sources told

The decision was taken following a one-and-a-half-hour meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel, where the trio took stock of the situation following the detention of Anna Hazare, who began his fast unto death despite being in police detention.

The Gandhian was arrested on Tuesday morning from his residence at New Delhi before he could commence his indefinite fast to press for a stronger Lokpal Bill at the JP Park in the city. The entire country erupted in protest against his arrest.

Rahul Gandhi made it clear that the UPA government should not do anything that may force an uprising like in 1977, sources said.

PM Singh kept him updated all through the day with the developments and held consultations with his cabinet colleagues, sources added.

He agreed with Rahul's suggestion that Anna should be released from Tihar jail as the action against him was proving to be counter-productive.

B K Gupta then signed revocation of the detention and the order was delivered to Neeraj Kumar, director general Tihar jail, by 8 pm.

"He is being released on his own terms and has not compromised with the government," Anna's close aide and former Delhi top cop Kiran Bedi told over the phone.

The release of Anna is being seen as a big win for the Gandhian leader and would serve as a shot in the arm for his supporters. The release order came within five hours of three cabinet ministers -- Kapil Sibal, Chidambaram and Ambika Soni -- defending the action taken against Anna Hazare and his men.

Delhi police also released over 2,000 persons from Chattrasal Stadium at around 8 pm.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi