Kejriwal stopped from marching to PM house

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 11:02 hrs

New Delhi: Social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal, who planned to lead a protest march outside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi on Friday demanding action against Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, was stopped by the police at Janpath.

Kejriwal and large number of disabled people assembled at Janpath on Friday and planned to move towards the Prime Minister's residence.

Kejriwal changed the original plans of laying a siege to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence, a member of India Against Corruption (IAC) group said.

The social activist and other protesters had also sought permission to meet the PM.

However, Singh refused to meet them due to his prior appointments.

"All of us will go to the PM's house. We will sit outside and wait for the PM to get free. Whenever he has time, we would like to meet him," Kejriwal told NDTV.

Speaking on the possibility of detention by the police, he said: "We are not a security threat. The people of this country are not a security threat. Let them pick us up. Let them detain us. Let them arrest us."

"We want to show the PM that his Law Minister has swindled the money meant for physically challenged people," Kejriwal said.

Shrugging off Khurshid's warning of legal action for purported defamation, Kejriwal on Thursday demanded that the senior leader of the ruling Congress party should be sacked without inquiry over the embezzlement charges.

"This is a matter where there should be no inquiry; Salman Khurshid should be dismissed straight away," Kejriwal, who launched his own political party last week, said, undeterred by Khurshid's warning.

Earlier, an infuriated Salman Khurshid called Kejriwal a guttersnipe and vowed to teach him a lesson by taking him to court for allegations of siphoning off money by him and his wife from an NGO the couple runs in their constituency in Uttar Pradesh for the physically challenged.

"Do you think I am mad that I will be siphoning off money when we are working for 15 years. This is my constituency, you do not cheat people in your constituency," Khurshid told NDTV, referring to the charge that they embezzled money of his wife Louise's NGO in Khurshid's constituency Farrukhabad.

He also slammed the TV channel Aaj Tak for bringing corruption charges against him and his wife. The channel alleged that the Zakir Husain Memorial Trust run by the couple embezzled money by forging signatures of the government officials.

Kejriwal on Wednesday called for the resignation of Khurshid after he and his wife were implicated in the sting operation by the news channel over alleged financial impropriety.

Kejriwal's comments come following a sting operation by Aaj Tak channel that alleged that an NGO headed by Khurshid, and in which his wife is the chief functionary, siphoned off lakhs of money that was meant to help physically challenged people in Uttar Pradesh.

An angry Khurshid said "we will teach them [Kejriwal] a lesson."

Khurshid said Kejriwal should first explain what he has been doing all his life.

"We will take care of Kejriwal," said Khurshid indicating that he would be taken to court.

He said they would not descend to "the language and culture" of Kejriwal, but "we will give it in the court."

The Union Minister and his wife vehemently denied any wrongdoing and in a statement said it was "painful and sad to see the work of the entire trust being tarnished" by the statements of a few individuals, "the veracity of whose claims has not been established".

Kejriwal however said, "We demand an urgent FIR. His wife, who is the project director, should be arrested. Because they are a powerful family, they will destroy evidence and put pressure on witnesses."

He also added that it was "sad that the country's law minister heading an NGO that is involved in corruption" and that he should resign immediately.

Kejriwal's attack comes amidst an ongoing offensive against the ruling Congress party where he has accused party chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra of enabling government favours for real estate giant DLF in return of kickbacks.

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