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Pawar quits anti-graft panel after Hazare jibe

Wednesday April 06, 2011 09:22:12 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Wednesday stepped down from the high-powered anti-graft ministerial panel after social activist Anna Hazare, who is on fast-unto-death against corruption, criticised him.

Sources told IANS that Pawar has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to relieve him from the Group of Ministers (GoM) that was set up in January to suggest legislative and administrative measures to curb corruption and improve transparency in government functioning.

The move comes hours after Hazare, whose fast had launched a nationwide campaign against corruption, criticised Pawar's inclusion in the panel, saying he owns large chunks of land in Maharashtra.

Hazare said, "A minister like Sharad Pawar, who is known for the possessing of large amounts of land holdings in Maharashtra, is heading a committee that will draft the (Lokpal or ombudsman) bill!"

Incidentally, Pawar was only a member of the committee.

On an indefinite fast here since Tuesday, Hazare is pressing for the enactment of the anti-graft bill with stringent measures against corruption.

Pawar earlier said said he would be happy to be relieved from all ministerial panels, including the one on corruption.

"I will be happy if you relieve me from all GoMs, including that GoM (on corruption)," Pawar told reporters, replying to a query on Hazare's jibe.

The high-powered ministerial panel on corruption is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and has Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal, Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister M.K. Alagiri and IT and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal as its other members.



 

 

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