New Delhi: In his first comments on the police action at Ramdev's protest congregation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday termed it as "unfortunate" but justified it saying there was "no alternative".

He asserted that his government was "concerned" and "serious" about fighting corruption but maintained that there was "no magic wand" to do so.

"It is unfortunate that operation had to be conducted but quite honestly, there was no alternative," Singh told reporters here when asked to comment on the much-criticised midnight police action to disrupt Ramdev's anti-corruption protest at Ramlila Maidan.

On the issue of corruption being flagged by civil society activists and parties, the Prime Minister said, "the government is serious and we are concerned about corruption and black money. There is no doubt. But there is no magic wand."

With regard to demands that the Prime Minister should be brought under the purview of Lokpal, Singh refused to comment saying the issue was before the joint drafting committee comprising ministers and members from civil society.

Singh, who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of function organised by Hindi daily 'Rajasthan Patrika', was asked about his assessment of his two years in office. "It is for you people to judge," he said.

PM evasive on Maran's fate

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained evasive on the future of Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Cabinet in the wake of allegations that he could have indirectly benefitted by pay-offs in a telecom deal.

"All these matters are being looked into by law enforcement agencies. They should be allowed to do their work without fear or favour," Singh told reporters.

He was responding when asked whether he has sought resignation of Maran following the allegation of corruption against him.

Earlier in the day, Maran came out with a statement, second within a week, rejecting allegations that he had arm twisted former Aircel Chief C Sivasankaran to sell his stake to Maxis.

His statement came as CBI recorded Sivasankaran's statement at an undisclosed location.

BJP, CPI(M) flay PM's remarks on Ramdev

Meanwhile, the BJP and CPI(M) criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his statement justifying the police crackdown on Ramdev's supporters and alleged his comments were "inhuman" and did not do "much credit" to his government.

"The statement of the Prime Minister vindicates BJP's stand that it seems the unleashing of midnight terror on innocents was orchestrated by the PM and his office in consent with 10 Janpath," BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said reacting to Singh's remarks on the police action at the venue of Ramdev's fast at the Ramlila Ground.

"The Prime Minister has fallen in grace for all times to come," he said.

In his first comments on the police action at Ramdev's protest congregation, Singh termed it as "unfortunate" and justified it saying there was "no alternative".

Rudy alleged the Prime Minister has lost all credibility and his statement is "not only inhuman but also amply narrates the insensitivity of the PM". It reflects the "complete callousness" on the part of the government, he said.

Instead of expressing regret for what happened, he is trying to "condone" the act, he said. "Here is a Prime Minister who himself opines that terror should be unleashed on common man. His statement is bizarre and unexpected," he said.

CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat said the party would have appreciated had the Prime Minister expressed regret at the action and that he has not done so "does not do much credit to his government".

"I feel sorry that he has not expressed regret...we still do not know know what changed within 48 hours that from rolling out red carpet for Ramdev they went to (unleash) this terrible police attack," she said.

(Agencies)