NGO fraud: Kejriwal questions Khurshid's proof

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 14:30 hrs

India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday questioned Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid's proof of innocence in connection with the allegations of forgery and embezzlement of funds from the NGO - Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, that Khurshid and his wife Louise own and run.

Hours after Khurshid produced pictures and documents to prove that camps for the disabled were held in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh, Kejriwal said the Law Minister had refused to answer any question that was put to him.

Seemingly dissatisfied with Khurshid's defence, Kejriwal vowed to furnish more evidence against the Congress leader on Monday.

Speaking on his demand for Khurshid's resignation, Kejriwal said: "If the PM (Prime Minister) says no need for Khurshid to resign, we'll go back and ensure a differently abled person defeats him in the 2014 elections."

At a press conference he held with his wife Louise, Khurshid had earlier in the day asserted that the camps for the disabled, organised by his Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, were held at different places in Uttar Pradesh.

He also produced pictures and presented some eminent people who were present at these camps. The camps were held and there is enough evidence to prove that, he had told reporters.

Launching a scathing attack on anti-graft crusader Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters, who are affiliated with the NGO India Against Corruption (IAC), Khurshid, during his nearly 90-minute long press conference, had derivesely said: "I won't answer any person on street who levels allegations. Those people are making allegations against my trust and not my party."

Waving and showing pictures of officials present at the camps for the disabled held by Khurshid's trust in front of media persons and in the presence of Moradabad Member of Parliament and former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, Khurshid that he was ready for any kind of enquiry into the NGO's activities, and added that he had no choice but to file a defamation case against the Hindi television channel Aaj Tak.

Presenting a list of camps held in Uttar Pradesh along with photographs, Salman Khurshid said, "I with full responsibility, say that the pictures are not morphed."

Pictures showed former Uttra Pradesh Government official J B Singh himself giving out the instruments meant for the disabled.

Earlier reports had suggested that J B Singh denied giving any instruments to the disabled people.

He also showed pictures showing 10 handicapped people getting tricycles of Sant Ravidas Nagar.

"We held disabled camps regularly at places," Khurshid said.

"We had no choice but to file a defamation case against Aaj Tak in the High Court," Khurshid said, adding that he was "deeply hurt by the charges" made by television channels.

"I feel hurt, wonder who in the country will reach out to the destitute, if they have to be dragged out through the dirt. Sadly, these allegations have been made by Aaj Tak, the India Today Group. My press conference will be addressed to them. Didn't want to invite Aaj Tak to the press conference, but believe in the freedom of press. Was told that this interaction at the press conference would be fair," said Khurshid

He said he was determined to address the core issue, which was that his NGO had allegedly siphoned off Rs.71 lakh, and that no camps were held for the disabled in the 17 districts of his home state of Uttar Pradesh, and that the money released from the Union Social Welfare Ministry had been diverted for personal gain and use.

In a heated exchange of words between himself, his wife Louise and all those present at the press conference, Khurshid said that he wanted to figure out why some people are different from others when it comes to the issue of media ethics

"We have done a reverse sting, we have documents and recordings of people who were fooled by the India Today Group. We will show it," said Khurshid.

"India will now have to go through counter stings," Khurshid said further, adding: " You can talk to the physically impaired people who received wheelchairs from our trust, not rented ones available on the street today."

"I got my first camp from the NDA Government. I did all this before I became a Law Minister," Khurshid said.

"Today, I fight for compassion, I fight for humanity," Khurshid said.

"I will submit my resignation as Law Minister if Arun Poorie steps down from the India Today Group," he added.

Asked about Arvind Kejriwal's claims that his IAC team will continue to protest till he resigns, the UPA minister said, "My party will answer to this. I am soldier of the party... I am not important, the party is important."

"Kejriwal doesn't have to exert himself, whatever decision I will take will be in the interest of the party," he added. (ANI)

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