'My NGO did no wrong'
Vehemently rejecting allegations of financial irregularities in an NGO run by him and his wife Louise, an angry Salman Khurshid produces pictures and documents to prove that camps for the disabled were indeed held
Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday produced pictures and documents to prove camps for the disabled were held and rebutted allegations of forgery and embezzlement of funds against an NGO with which he and his wife are associated.
He also announced that he will file a defamation suit against the Aaj Tak TV news channel which organised a sting operation and levelled charges against Khurshid and his wife.
At a press conference he held with his wife Louise, Khurshid asserted that the camps for the disabled, organised by his Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, were held at different places in Uttar Pradesh.
He produced pictures and also presented some eminent people who were present at these camps. The camps were held and there is enough evidence to prove that, he told reporters. But before the press conference could end, Khurshid flew into a rage telling an Aaj Tak correspondent to shut up and asking him to leave the conference.
He also talked of reverse sting or counter sting, in which he threatened to expose the news channel. Khurshid also poohpoohed the so-called CAG report and said that it is merely in draft form. He was critical of CAG report saying it arrived at a conclusion without sufficient investigation.
Calling India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal and other volunteers liars, he threatened to file a Rs 100 crore defamation case against Aaj-Tak and Aroon Purie.
According to the Aaj Tak report, 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 has alleged financial misappropriation by the Khurshids in running the trust. While Khurshid is the president of the trust, his wife is the project director.
IAC activists have accused Khurshid and his wife of not organising health camps in 10 of the 17 districts they had demanded funds from the central government for.
‘Give up politics’
Meanwhile, rejecting the proof provided by Khurshid, Arvind Kejriwal continued to demand that the union minister tender his resignation.
Stating that the allegations were made on the basis of a probe done by the Uttar Pradesh government, Kejriwal asked whether Khurshid would resign from politics if the charges are proved to be true.
“If disabled people did not benefit from the trust, then will he resign and give up politics,” Kejriwal asked. “He must announce his resignation today (Sunday),” Kejriwal said.
The activist quoted a report by the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh and alleged that the NGO had forged the signature of Ram Raj Singh, an Uttar Pradesh government official, recommending grants for the NGO.
“Ram Raj Singh says he didn’t sign papers for Khurshid’s organisation. Singh had retired in January. How could he sign in March. Didn’t Khurshid’s organisation forge signatures of Ram Raj Singh,” Kejriwal questioned.
He also alleged that the signature of another official, JB Singh, was forged in an affidavit saying the NGO has done good work.
“Do you accept that your trust forged an affidavit of JB Singh,” Kejriwal asked. The anti-corruption activist also questioned whether the probe’s report was wrong and if Khurshid agreed with the allegations.
“A show-cause notice was sent to Louise Khurshid on July 3 to explain all of this. No response has been sent so far,” Kejriwal said.
“We want to ask if the Uttar Pradesh government’s report is fake. If it is fake, action should be taken against Akhilesh Yadav,” he said.