Indian PM to face media grilling


India’s under-fire prime minister Manmohan Singh is to face senior editors on Wednesday in a rare live televised interview as he seeks to bounce back from months of pressure over a series of scandals.

The premier, battling to retain his reputation as the “Mr Clean” of politics, is likely to be grilled over recent corruption cases that have put his government on the back foot.

“The prime minister is expected to interact with Indian news channel on Wednesday,” a source in his office told AFP. “The agenda for the meeting is being worked out.”

Singh’s centre-left coalition government, led by his Congress party, has been lambasted for months over the sale of mobile phone licences in 2008 at a fraction of their value.

Singh has faced pressure from the opposition for an all-party probe into the scandal — a demand he is reportedly set to agree to — and has been asked to explain why he did not stop the fraud-tainted licence sales.

The telecom minister at the time, A. Raja, was arrested earlier this month and remains in police custody as investigators probe what the Indian media have dubbed India’s biggest ever corruption scandal.

In September, Singh sat down with newspaper editors and was reportedly angered after some of his off-the-record remarks about China seeking “a foothold in South Asia” were reported by the Times of India.

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