No question of islolating Khurshid: Soni

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 17:18 hrs

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Monday defended Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid in connection to the ongoing controversies related to his Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust and said there was no question of isolating him within the government.

"There is no question of isolation or not backing him," Soni told reporters on Monday.

"Khurshid is not afraid of anything. He has all the answers to all the charges being made. He said his lawyers will take care of the rest," Soni said.

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh earlier in the day said Khurshid is an ´innocent man´ it is natural for him to get angry if ´such allegations´ were made against him.

"If such allegations are made against an innocent man then naturally he will get angry," Singh told reporters.

Singh slammed the media and said: "One channel said there were no camps. Later, it was proven wrong."

"Another channel said handicapped did not get equipment and that was also proven wrong," he said.

Singh attacked social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal and said: "It is clear that he wants to get investigations to be handed over to him."

Soni and Singh made the comments on a day when Keriwal mounted pressure on Khurshid and his trust by producing more evidences against the Union Law Minister to counter the proof given by him on Sunday in connection to charges of embezzlement brought against him by a TV sting operation.

He alleged that most people on Khurshid´s list did not receive equipment.

"His trust provided aids to dead persons. One of the beneficiaries of the schemes was not even physically challenged," Kejriwal said.

Khurshid on Sunday responded to the charges of embezzlement and came up with pictures and documents to show camps for disabled were held in different districts of Uttar Pradesh by his Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.

He showed photographs of the camps and even a utilisation letter that mentioned Rs 71.5 lakh.

Khurshid also showed audited accounts that had appliance details for the disabled.

According to the TV network´s report, Khurshids´ Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust had been granted Rs 71.50 lakh by the union social welfare and empowerment ministry for distributing tricycles and hearing aids to the disabled in Uttar Pradesh.

Forging signatures of senior officials in several districts of the state the NGO embezzled funds off the grants and deprived the physically challenged who were eligible for benefits under the scheme.

Both Salman Khurshid, who is the president of the Trust, and his wife -- the project director -- have vehemently denied any wrongdoing even as activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal lambasted the couple over the graft charges.

The accusations were used by Kejriwal and his supporters to launch a campaign against the Law Minister and demand his resignation.

"If Khurshid has any shame, he will resign today," Kejriwal said on Sunday.

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