Hardening its stand again after the Assembly elections, Team Anna moved from setting deadlines for the Lokpal Bill to naming Union ministers with a tainted reputation. They warned of a nationwide ‘jail bharo’ agitation in August if criminal cases were not filed against 14 Union Ministers on charges of corruption and criminal intimidation. The team said that the dates would be announced later.
Team Anna addressed crowds at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the venue of a fast to demand protection for whistleblowers campaigning against corruption. Team Anna also demanded investigation of allegations against 1,300 elected representatives (MPs as well as MLAs) across the country against whom criminal charges have been leveled.
Arvind Kejriwal, the core member of Team Anna, named the 14 Union Ministers who, he alleged, were “corrupt.” He himself had no direct evidence of wrongdoing on their party, but there have been allegations in newspapers and on television, and they needed to be investigated.
Indian Express listed out the 14 Union Ministers whom Kejriwal named corrupt and the specific charges against them. (SiliconIndia takes no stand on these allegations, but just lists out the names as given by Kejriwal. As it is in the public domain, it can evoke a public discourse and/or litigation.
1. P Chidambaram:
Chidambaram was one of the 14 ministers on the list, for his alleged controversial role in the 2G scam, and the charge that his wife (a lawyer) defended a Kolkata businessman named Kashinath Tapuria in an income tax claim of 580 crore.
Last year in September, referring to Chidambaram’s involvement in the scam, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said “Had there been a Jan Lokpal now, Chidambaram would have been in jail.” Referring to the same, Kejriwal named him on the list.
2. Kapil Sibal:
Kapil was on the list of the corrupt ministers for allegedly lowering Rs 650 crore fine on Reliance Communication to Rs 5 crore. He was accused of favoring Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infocomm.
Anna Hazare had then appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take action against Union Telecom minister Kapil Sibal, and expressed grief that frivolous litigations were being filed to settle personal scores. He also said that he himself would enquire into the matter and bring out details about the HRD Minister.
3. Praful Patel:
Praful Patel was also on the list for his alleged role in running Air India to the ground when he was civil aviation minister.
4. Sharad Pawar:
Sharad Pawar was named as well for his alleged “links” with Abdul Karim Telgi in the Maharashtra stamp duty scam.
He was named by Abdul Karim Telgi, during a narcoanalysis test, stating that it was Pawar’s idea to print fake stamp papers across the country and mint money. Pawar was also accused in a multi-crore scam concerning wheat imports and institutions headed by him and his close associates were served notices by the Bombay High Court for showing favoritism to his family.
5. SM Krishna:
SM Krishna made it on the list of 14 ministers too for his alleged involvement in the Karnataka mining scam. An FIR was filed against him by Karnataka Lokayukta for allegedly de-reserving large forest areas for mining in Bellary as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1999-2004.
6. Kamal Nath:
Kamal Nath, the Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development, made it on the hit list too over allegations relating to the rice export. The alleged 2, 500-crore rice export scam of 2008-09 took place in his watch.
7. Farooq Abdullah:
Farooq Abdullah is on the list for alleged financial irregularities in the J&K Cricket Association.
The JKCA headed by union minister of new and renewable energy Dr Farooq Abdullah, is facing charges of grave financial irregularities and mismanagement. 50 crore is said to have been diverted to different accounts opened in the name of the JKCA by its officials to mint money, which comes as subsidies to promote sports and particularly cricket.
8. Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh :
Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, both are on the Kejriwal list of corrupt ministers for their role in the Adarsh housing scam and a land allotment allegation against Deshmukh.
Adarsh Housing Society, a cooperative society in the city of Mumbai, was supposed to be reserved for the war widows and veterans of the Kargil War. However, it came to light that houses in the society were not given to the presumed beneficiaries, but taken over by politicians, bureaucrats and top ranking military personnel. There are allegations that former chief ministers of Maharashtra, Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh were also involved in the scam.
10. Ajit Singh:
Ajit Singh makes it on the hit list too for charges that in 2008, when UPA 1 government was tottering after Left parties withdrew support over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal; he supported the government for a monetary consideration.
The Wikileaks claim that during the nuclear deal trust vote, he had charged Rs 10 crore per MP to vote for the UPA government.
11. GK Vasan:
GK Vasan is a prominent Congress leader from Tamil Nadu and is on the corrupt minister list for allegedly giving away 16,000 acres near Kandla Port of Gujarat at a loss of Rs 2 lakh crore to the exchequer.
Vasan instead called these allegations “baseless” and pointed out that he was not in charge of the ministry when the alleged irregularities surfaced in 2008. He was quoted saying to the Hindustan Times “Allegation regarding irregularities in Kandla Port Trust Lease of Land case are totally baseless and there is no truth in it. When the report by CVO of the Port Trust was originally given in 2008, I was not the Minister of Shipping.”
12. Sriprakash Jaiswal:
Sriprakash makes it on the list for alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks. This allotment of coal blocks gave ‘undue benefits’ to scores of companies causing an enormous loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore to the nation’s exchequer.
The Coal Minister in his defence said “We gave advertisements for allocation of coal blocks and invited applications…after the applications were received by us (Coal Ministry), the state governments were consulted and thereafter the coal blocks were allocated,” as reported Business Today.
13. MK Azhagiri:
MK Azhagiri makes it on the hit list for alleged attacks on political rivals. He was also accused of conspiring in the murder of the former DMK Minister, T. Kiruttinan.
14. Virbhadra Singh:
Virbhadra Singh is the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He is one among the fourteen ministers named by Kejriwal, for assorted allegations of bribery.