New Delhi: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday scrambled to issue clarifications after he triggered fresh controversy by saying that Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid will not do a scam for a 'small amount' of Rs. 71 lakh.
"Corruption is corruption, even if it is for one rupee," he said, adding that he had been misquoted.
The steel minister pointed out that if Khurshid had anything to hide, he would not have asked for an inquiry into the alleged financial violations of his NGO.
Earlier Verma had said that he would have taken the matter seriously if the controversies related to Khurshid and his Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust amounted to a massive amount of Rs 71 crore.
"I do not think a man like Salman Khurshid will do a scam for Rs. 71 lakh. It is a very small amount," Verma told media.
"If it was Rs 71 crore then I would have taken the matter seriously," he said.
Verma attacked social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal and said: "He should not bark day and night."
Kejriwal earlier in the day added pressure on Khurshid and his trust by producing more evidences against him 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.
Kejriwal made the remarks a day after Khurshid 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.