No question of isolating Khurshid within the govt: Soni

Backing Salman Khurshid, two senior Union Ministers today said there was no question of the Law Minister being isolated within the government following allegations of misappropriation of funds by an NGO headed by him.

"There is no question of isolation or not backing (Khurshid)," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here after a meeting of the Group of Ministers on Media.
Khurshid, who also attended the meeting, refused to answer any questions and left waving a thumbs up sign to waiting reporters.

"There is no question of distancing. He (Khurshid) has made it clear that there is nothing wrong. There is no question of distancing (from him)," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Soni said she had nothing more to add to what Khurshid had said at a press conference yesterday.

Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik had made a statement on the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust and the state funds it has been receiving since 2003, she said.

"As far as recent issues are concerned, an investigation is being conducted by the Uttar Pradesh government," Soni said.

She appeared to brush aside activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal's latest set of allegations against Khurshid.

"I cannot take on all the questions Kejriwal is making round the clock. He has been making quite a few charges and changing the charges by the hour," Soni said.

Soni also indicated that the charges made by Kejriwal were non-serious and were not backed by evidence.

"It depends on what inquiry you are talking about. If people having sit-ins suddenly start making charges, there must be some proof of it, some gravitas," she said when it was pointed that that Congress too had demanded resignations of BJP ministers facing inquiries.

Soni said that the Uttar Pradesh government was conducting a probe into the issue and the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment was abreast of the developments.
Soni said Khurshid has a reputation which was something to be proud of and has a legacy which most would like to have.

"He himself has come clean and decided to take the legal course forward. So, when a person is not afraid of anything,he has all the answers to all the charges being made. He has said that now his lawyers will take care of the rest," Soni said.

The GoM also discussed the Supreme Court's refusal to stay the government's decision to allow FDI in retail.

Soni said government's programmes on sensitising the people of its decisions would continue.

The I&B Minister said the issue related to a PIL against use of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's pictures in government advertisements was also discussed.

The issue is expected to come up for hearing in a court on October 18 and the government has kept all the documents in this regard ready for submission in court, she said. 

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