Is Anna Hazare really a Gandhian? Is he honest enough to lead a campaign against corruption? So far, people could only raise finger against few of his lieutenants. However, a 2005 report submitted to the Maharashtra Government by Justice PB Sawant suggests serious corruption charges against anti-graft activist Anna Hazare.
The commission set up in 2003 “to probe into the allegations of corrupt practices and maladministration into matters” of several state ministers and social activist Anna Hazare clearly indicts the Magsaysay awardee.
The report submitted on February 23, 2005, concludes: “The expenditure of Rs 2.20 lacs from the funds of the Hind Swaraj Trust for the birthday celebrations of Shri Hajare was clearly illegal and amounted to a corrupt practice.” (p 365)
Sant Yadavbaba Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, a trust with which Hazare is associated since its inception in 1980, “committed illegalities” in its audits, according to Justice Sawant.
The report says, “There is no doubt that the trust, and therefore, the trustees of the trust committed illegalities.” (p 281)
According to Justice Sawant report, Ganpatrao Avati,a close associate of Hazare, had asked for an “amount of Rs 25,000 to process” an application. It thus infers “even those activists who were nearer to Shri Hajare were indulging in corruption and demanding money from the supplicants who came for relief from Shri Hajare.” (p 359-60)
According to this report, when Anna Hazare was asked about this, he said that when he had asked Avati about this allegation, but “Shri Avati had denied it.” (360)
The report suggests several other charges of illegality, corruption and maladministration against Anna Hazare.
Hazare sat on “fast-unto-death” to get accepted his demand for setting up a committee for the Jan Lokpal Bill, of which he himself is a member now.