Congress refuses to back Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Bhushans

“The Congress will not comment on the matter, it is for them to answer and clarify whatever charges have been made against them,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here.

“...my party has no view on this,” she said.

In the latest controversy, a newspaper reported that Shanti Bhushan and his son Jayant were given two plots of land in Noida at a below market price. Shanti Bhushan, veteran lawyer and former law minister, said it was a "malicious campaign" and denied that he had taken the plots from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's discretionary quota.

Following the allegation, the Congress' Uttar Pradesh unit chief  Joshi had said that Shanti Bhushan should step down.  “If a doubt creeps once in the minds of people that a particular person does not have a very clean life, such persons should voluntarily withdraw from this process of drafting Lokpal Bill,” Joshi told reporters.

“There is no dearth of knowledgeable and talented lawyers as well as patriots in the country and hence any other person can be made a member (of the committee),” she added. Natarajan, however, said clearly that Joshi was not mouthing the party's stand.

“Mine is the official statement of the party,” Natarajan said. Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant Bhushan are part of the 10-member joint committee to draft the Lokpal (ombudsman) Bill to fight corruption. The Bhushans have found themselves in controversy ever since.

Shanti Bhushan has been in the news for the circulation of a CD, which has a man purportedly meant to be the veteran lawyer telling Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and former party general secretary Amar Singh that a judge could be "fixed" for Rs.4 crore.

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