IAC supporters continue protests as Khurshid arrives in Delhi

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 14, 2012 07:50 hrs

Even as Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid arrived here from London on Sunday morning, activists of the NGO India Against Corruption (IAC) and physically impaired people waved black flags at the airport against him and vowed to continue with their protests over allegations that his NGO - the Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust-had siphoned off money meant for the disabled.

On Sunday, Khurshid faced protests at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Hundreds of IAC members were seen protesting against him with black flags and posters at different gates of the airport and shouting slogans 'Salman Khurshid chor hai' (Salman Khurshid is a thief).

However, before the IAC members could 'gherao' Khurshid, officials whisked the minister in a white ambassador car.

Khurshid is to hold a press conference today at 3 p.m.

He had earlier denied the allegations levelled by Hindi television channel Aaj Tak and Arvind Kejriwal's IAC that the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust owned by him and run by his wife Louise was involved in cases of financial misappropriation and forgery.

"I will fight back the allegations with sufficient proof," he told reporters on his arrival in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal has announced an indefinite agitation to demand the resignation and arrest of Khurshid over alleged financial irregularities in his NGO.

The Khurshids' have come under huge criticism after an Aaj Tak sting operation reported that the Union Social Welfare and Empowerment Ministry had granted Rs. 71.50 lakh to the Khurshids' NGO for distributing tricycles and hearing aids to the disabled in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh.

The television channel alleged financial misappropriation by the Khurshids in running the trust.

Responding to the allegation, Khurshid said he would fight back against the allegations levelled by third rate people like Kejriwal.

In an interview with ANI, in London, Khurshid said Team Kejriwal is picking on one person at a time in a bid to destroy the Congress party, adding that all is being done to launch its own party.

I have nothing to hide, the law minister asserted. "We will fight tooth and nail, whatever it takes, we will fight. We will not give into these blackmailers," Khurshid added.

Reacting to Kejriwal seeking his resignation, Khurshid said his party's leadership would take the decision in this regard. "We work like an army as far as the (Congress) party is concerned".

The war of attrition between Kejriwal and Khurshid escalated yesterday with the former launching an indefinite protest demanding his resignation and arrest, shortly after being released from a makeshift jail in Bawana located on the outskirts of Delhi.

Kejriwal, who was arrested and detained along with 150 supporters at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi, was released late Friday night, but the activist and his supporters refused to leave the stadium till Saturday morning.

Kejriwal, IAC members Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia and Rashtriya Viklang Party (RVP) president KK Dikshit then reached Parliament Street, where Kejriwal announced the IAC decision to sit on an indefinite protest agitation outside the police station till the government acts on their demands.

Dikshit has alleged that Khurshid's NGO siphoned off funds meant for the disabled.

Louise Khurshid, who is the project director of the Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust termed the allegations of "money bungling" as "baseless innuendos" and accused Arvind Kejriwal of "doing politics using the shoulders of the disabled".

She has filed a civil defamation case in the Delhi High Court against the TV Today Group seeking damages of Rs 100 crore, said court sources.

Meanwhile, in a related development, IAC activists in Panaji, Goa, have claimed that Khurshid has undervalued properties in Goa.

The IAC's coordinator for Goa, Valmiki Naik, was quoted by a news agency, as saying that he had released a video on the video networking site YouTube featuring Khurshid's Goa properties in the coastal village of Calangute, said to be one of the hottest property markets in Goa.

"The IAC Goa also demands that Mr Khurshid explain what appears to be gross under-valuing of his properties in Goa. Khurshid, in a 'declaration of assets' on the PMO website in September 2011, had declared two apartments that he owns at Bernard Simao resorts at Gauravaddo in Calangute," Naik said in a statement issued in Panaji.

Naik claimed that one apartment is 110 square metres, the other is 102 square metres. He claimed that they were purchased by Khurshid's father-in-law in Louise Khurshid's name for a price of Rs 4,29,200 and Rs 3,94,400, respectively.

He claimed that the properties were grossly undervalued, as compared to real estate prices prevalent in Goa.

Kejriwal continues to demand the arrest of Khurshid and his dismissal from the Manmohan Singh ministry over the above allegations. (ANI)

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