Manmohan Singh: People did not pay heed to corruption charges, returned UPA to power

PTI Posted online: Friday, Jan 03, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said most corruption cases, which have been used to target his government, date back to the UPA-I and people still handed over UPA a second tenure, suggesting that it was not as much a big issue as made out by the opposition and the media.

"Corruption charges against government relate to UPA-I and people of the country have not heeded to those charges and given us a second term," he said, mentioning scandals involving 2G spectrum allocation and coal block allotment, decisions which were made during his first term between 2004 and 2009.

At his press conference, Singh consistently downplayed corruption charges levelled against his government and said "I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media or for that matter the Opposition in Parliament."

"The opposition had vested interest and media, CAG and other entities played on it some time... When history is written, we will come out unscathed," he said, adding that he had taken action to deal with the charges and stressed that "any wrong doing in government decisions will be punished".

He, though, admitted that corruption was an issue and Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal has been able to "make success out of their concerns of eradication of corruption".

Singh also brushed aside accusations that he did not assert himself enough when his colleagues made controversial decisions which resulted in leveling of corruption charges.

"I was the one who insisted spectrum allocation should be transparent and fair... coal block allocation should be on auction basis... There were irregularities but dimensions of irregularities were overstated by media and CAG," he said.

Having served almost 10 uninterrupted years in power, the second longest after Jawaharlal Nehru, Singh said he felt dealing with corruption was not an easy process.

"This is not a matter which only one party can accomplish. Various political parties should come together to deal with this monster," he said.

Recognised for his personal integrity, he emphasised that he never used his office to enrich friends or relatives. "I have served the country with utmost dedication and integrity. I have never used my office to enrich my friends or relatives," he said.