Hegde dissociates himself from Team on word used against PM

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Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, May 29: In yet another reflection of strains in Team Anna, former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde dissociated himself from the corruption charges levelled against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 13 Ministers saying he was not privy to the material against them.

"I do not have the material that Team Anna has as I was not in the meeting (where the issue was discussed). Without studying the material against the Ministers, I do not want to comment on it or associate myself with it," he told PTI here.

He also disapproved of a certain word reportedly used by Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan to attack Prime Minister for not acting against corrupt ministers. "It is not proper. You don't use such words against the Prime Minister," he said.

On Team Anna's allegations about External Affairs Minister SM Krishna being involved in the illegal mining scam when he was the Chief Minister of the state, Hedge said he did not find any material which implicated him. "When I was inquiring, the material that I got, implicated the then mining minister (V Muniyappa) and some high officials of the forest and mines and geology departments. I have named them. I did not find any material which implicated Krishna".

"Now the team (Anna) says they have more material which implicates Krishna and they want further inquiry. It is for them to decide. In this background, I have nothing to say", Hegde, whose report on illegal mining led to the exit of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister last year, said.

This is not the first time that Hegde, a former supreme court judge, has struck a discordant note from Team Anna. He had earlier distanced himself from the team's anti-Congress campaign in Hissar Loksabha byelection in Haryana.

Targeting the Prime Minister for the first time, the Team Anna had recently levelled allegations over allocation of coal blocks when the coal ministry was under him and clubbed him with 13 other ministers who it alleged were corrupt.

PTI

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