Says the law minister should resign on the wake of allegations of misappropriation of funds by his NGO
After being released from police detention in a stadium on the outskirts of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal and his team have started an indefinite dharna at Parliament Street demanding resignation of law minister Salman Khurshid. “We demand that Salman Khurshid and Louise Khurshid be immediately arrested,” said Kejriwal addressing his supporters.
Allegations have been made that NGO Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, run by Salman Khurshid and wife Louise Khurshid, misappropriated a grant of Rs 71.50 lakh received from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2009-10. The grant was for distribution of aid to the differently-abled people in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
“Should the law minister stay in power after forging the signature (of District Magistrates) and siphoning of funds meant for differently-abled,” asked Kejriwal to his supporters. He was referring to the allegation that the Trust forged signatures of 11 District Magistrates to prove that camps were held in those districts to deliver the aid to differently-abled.
Meanwhile, a draft audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has “suspected fraud” in the accounts of the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust and has recommended that the grant given to them be recovered along with the interest. The report also has raised the issue of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment releasing the grant to the Trust for year 2010-11 without even receiving the utilisation certificates from the Trust for the previous year.
However, Louise Khurshid has termed these allegations as “baseless” and has said that all the utilisation certificates had been submitted. She also stated that the “CAG has not heard her side of the story” and she will approach the CAG on Monday 15 October.
Meanwhile, Kiran Bedi, an anti-corruption activist and former member of NGO India Against Corruption, has demanded that an independent inquiry under a retired Supreme Court judge be ordered so as to bring out the truth. “It is (sic) in the interest of the Khursheeds to request for independent probe! If all found good, those making allegations must face prosecution,” she wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.
Prakhar Jain is a Correspondent with Tehelka.