Kejriwal puts off anti-Khurshid stir

Alleges quid pro quo between Cong, UP govt

Kejriwal puts off anti-Khurshid stir

Anti-corruption activist and politician Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced suspension of his agitation against Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

Kejriwal had accused Khurshid of embezzlement of funds of the NGO run by the minister and his wife.

Kejriwal, however, said protests would continue in the minister’s Lok Sabha constituency of Farrukhabad (Uttar Pradesh) from November 1.

Kejriwal, who, along with a TV channel, has accused Khurshid’s NGO Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust of misappropriation of funds of Rs 71.05 lakh meant for the disabled and of not holding camps in several districts of Uttar Pradesh besides forging of signatures of state government officials, also alleged no proper inquiry would be held into the charges against the minister.

The India Against Corruption activist charged that there was a quid pro quo between the Congress, which is supporting Khurshid, and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who is facing a disproportionate assets case. “Both need each other and hence, nothing will come out of the inquiry,” he added.

Khurshid received support from the Congress party and the government. However, Khurshid’s ministerial colleague from UP Beni Prasad Verma put his foot in the mouth, stating that Rs 71 lakh was too small an amount for any Central minister to embezzle. “I believe Khurshid could not have embezzled Rs 71 lakh,” he said. “I would have taken it seriously if the amount was Rs 71 crore.” Though recorded on camera, Verma later backtracked.

Lashing out at Khurshid, Kejriwal, who is holding a protest for the last three days, presented as more proof against the minister three physically challenged persons from UP whose names he claimed allegedly figured on the list of beneficiaries of the minister’s trust. The three denied they were helped by the Trust in 2011.

On the enquiry ordered by the UP government, he remarked sarcastically that both Khurshid and Yadav needed each other. He said the minister and the father-son duo of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav (UP chief minister) will bail out each other. His remarks came a day after Khurshid vociferously defended himself against the allegations.

“There is enough evidence building up but the question is who will conduct an investigation. Akhilesh Yadav? A case of disproportionate assets is pending against his father Mulayam Singh. Now, Khurshid will save Mulayam and Mulayam’s son will save Khurshid,” Kejriwal said.

 Kejriwal also took on the BJP and questioned the main Opposition party: “We don’t know why the BJP is keeping quiet over the issue. The BJP and Congress have a mutual understating when it comes to corruption.”

As the Congress defended Khurshid, party general secretary Digvijay Singh alleged that Kejriwal wanted to be on the panel of the National Advisory Council—government’s interface with civil society—but was turned away by United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

“Kejriwal had come to me to recommend his name to be made part of the National Advisory Council, but Sonia Gandhi probably knew more about him and she refused,” Singh said while speaking to a news channel here. Reacting to Singh’s remarks, Kejriwal said that Congress leader was “telling lies, I don’t want to respond to it”.

Changing tack

* Kejriwal targets Farrukhabad, Khurshid’s Lok Sabha constituency, for further agitation
* Alleges nothing will come out of UP government probe
* Produces three people as additional proof
* Cong, UPA govt back the law minister
* Minister Beni Prasad Verma says amount too small for any Central minister to embezzle; he backtracks later

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