Allegations baseless: Louise Khurshid

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 18:03 hrs

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid's wife Louise Khurshid on Saturday said the allegations made against them by social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal and a TV channel were 'baseless'.

According to a 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.

"All allegations are baseless and false," Louise Khurshid told media on Saturday.

"Salman Khurshid will respond on allegations," she said.

"There is no CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report. They are only lying," Louise Khurshid said.

"It is surprising that Kejriwal being a former Income Tax Officer, he is not aware of the CAG report. The document is not a CAG report. It is only an excerpt from initial internal inspection report," she said.

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

Louise Khurshid said they did not forge signatures on documents.

Louise Khurshid on Friday filed a defamation suit against a TV network for accusing her of embezzlement charges even as fresh reports on Saturday appeared to bolster the case against the Congress leader.

Seeking damages of Rs 100 crore, the lawsuit was filed against the TV Today group for airing the defamatory programme on its channels, Headlines Today and Aaj Tak, media reports said citing unnamed sources.

Meanwhile, a newspaper report on Saturday said a letter with the forged signature of a senior Uttar Pradesh government official was allegedly used to request the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to release the second tranche of funds for the Khurshids' trust.

The Trust reportedly received Rs 68 lakh after the letter, dated March 24, 2011, signed by a former special secretary of the Department of Disabled Welfare in Uttar Pradesh, assessed its work satisfactorily.

The officer in question, however, had retired from the UP government services in January 2011, nearly three months before the letter was sent and has now sent a letter to the UP government saying that his signature was forged, the report said.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal and his supporters were released on Saturday following his arrest on Friday for trying to lead a protest march to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence.

The activist-turned-politician, who spent the night in a makeshift jail in Bawana, on the outskirts of Delhi, along with around 150 supporters, went to Parliament Street and protested against Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid over embezzlement charges.

Kejriwal said that the protests would continue till Union law minister Salman Khurshid resigns.

Kejriwal along with 400 supporters, including disabled people from the Rashtriya Viklang Party assembled at Janpath on Friday and planned to move towards the Prime Minister's residence but they were stopped by the police at Janpath.

They staged a sit-in demonstration after the police did not allow them to proceed.

The police reportedly detained them after they refused to disperse from the spot.

The cops forcefully dragged the protesters and put them in buses that would carry them to another location.

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