Team Anna seeks independent probe into charges against PM

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said it was not they but the report of the CAG on coal bloc allocations that has came up with charges against the prime minister 

New Delhi: With Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declaring that he will quit public life if corruption allegations are proved against him, Team Anna on Wednesday demanded an independent probe into the charges, saying they will be most happy if these are proved wrong, reports PTI.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said it was not they who came up with charges against him but it was in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on coal bloc allocations.

"We will be most happy if the allegations levelled against the Prime Minister is found false. But how will it be proved? For that we need to have an independent investigating agency to probe it," he told reporters.

"The Prime Minister has said that the allegations levelled against him were baseless, unfortunate and irresponsible. We want to tell him that it was not we who levelled these allegations but the CAG, which is a Constitutional body," he said.

Kejriwal said he would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he considered "irresponsible" the CAG report which is pegging a loss of Rs1.80 lakh crore to the exchequer in the allocation of coal blocs.

Team Anna's reaction came following Singh's remarks that he will quit public life if corruption allegations are proved against him.

"If there is even an iota of truth in it, then I will give up my public career and the country can give me any punishment," the Prime Minister had said, adding his public life has been an open book.

Another Team Anna member Justice Santosh Hegde said it is "extremely difficult" to believe that allegations raised by Team Anna against Singh could exist but demanded an inquiry if there are documents to suggest that some wrongdoing was done.

"It is extremely difficult for me to believe, having seen the Prime Minister all these years, to say that such an allegation could exist. But at the same time, if somebody has said it is in documentary form, I think an inquiry should be held," he said.

On Singh's remarks that the public should make up its mind whether Team Anna's kind of politics will rule the roost in India, Kejriwal said they do not do politics.

"We are just common people who are affected by corruption and price rise. We oppose the kind of politics prevailing in the country. Today's politics is snatching the food from the children, forcing farmers to commit suicide when some ministers are given permission to indulge in scams and get more richer," he said.

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, however, attacked Team Anna claiming that they had accused Singh of corruption and want him to be prosecuted but alleged that they have not specified under which section of Prevention of Corruption Act is he prima facie guilty.

He asked Anna Hazare to leave the group which is in the grip of "Naxalite-minded crazies" and join him and Ramdev in the fight against corruption.

Kejriwal refused to respond to Swamy's allegations saying they will not reply to such remarks.

In his comments, Hegde said, "If there are materials that are there, I think an inquiry should be held." 

However, he said, he had not seen any of the documents Team Anna had sent to Singh seeking inquiry. "With regards to the charges made by Team Anna, I don't have the facts with me," he said.

Bhushan said Singh should have gone through the documents accompanying the 'charge sheet' before terming them as "irresponsible allegations...He should respond to them on a point-by-point basis, fact by fact basis." 

Another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said, "PM is first among equals. If his equals are under a cloud as a leader of the team it is good leadership to set up an SIT to know the truth. If PM is clean, he can come out clean. Please submit to investigation. It shall be the lawful way to disprove CAG's deductions," she said.


Kerala HC grants bail to two Italian marines

The High Court said the two accused should execute a bond for Rs1 crore each besides two Indian sureties for the like amount

Kochi: In a respite for the two Italian marines charged with shooting down of two Indian fishermen, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted them bail with stringent conditions, reports PTI.

The court order comes a day after it turned down Italy's plea for quashing an first information report (FIR) against the marines, Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone, holding that they were liable to penal jurisdiction of Indian courts.

Granting them bail, Justice NK Balakrishnan said the two accused should execute a bond for Rs1 crore each besides two Indian sureties for the like amount.

After release from jail, they shall stay in a building within a distance of 10km from the office of the Kochi city Police Commissioner, appear before the Commissioner on all days between 10am and 11am and as and when required.

The marines should also furnish their mobile numbers if any, the court said, adding, they should not leave the territorial limits of the Commissioner's office.

The two sureties should also not leave the state. The magistrate shall ensure the identity of the sureties by insisting on production of photo identity card, the Court said.

The marines were also asked to surrender their passport before the Kollam Magistrate Court.

Justice Balakrishnan made it clear that the accused should be released on bail on production of valid travel document, visa having been endorsed by a foreign registration officer.

The government has been directed to ensure abundant caution and inform the seaport or other authorities to prevent the accused from leaving the country.

The marines, who were arrested from the merchant vessel 'Enrica Lexie' on February 19 last from which they fired at the fishermen off Kerala coast on 15th February, are at present lodged at the Borstal prison here.


Mahindra & Mahindra Q4 net profit up 44% to Rs874.48 crore

M&M's net sales increased to Rs9,241.28 crore in fourth quarter from Rs6,633.84 crore, same period last year

New Delhi: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), India's largest utility vehicle maker, on Wednesday reported 44.2% increase in its fourth quarter net profit to Rs874.48 crore, reports PTI.

The company had posted net profit of Rs606.54 crore for the corresponding period previous fiscal, M&M said in a filing to BSE.

Net sales of the company increased to Rs9,241.28 crore for the quarter ended March 2012 as against Rs6,633.84 crore for the same quarter year ago.

Consolidated net profit of the company for the full year stood at Rs3,126.66 crore for as against Rs3,079.73 crore for the same period previous fiscal. The company's net sales for FY12 rose to Rs58,241.40 crore from Rs36,009.65 crore for FY11.

Shares of Mahindra & Mahindra were today trading at Rs 658.95 in the afternoon trade on BSE, up 0.41 per cent from its previous close.


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