'Team Anna paying the price for raising voice'

Published: Nov 29, 2011, 06:49 IST | Amit Kumar |

Activist Arvind Kejriwal rubbishes FIR registered against Kiran Bedi following a court order, indicates government is using pressure tactics against them to dilute the Lokpal Bill issue

Activist Arvind Kejriwal rubbishes FIR registered against Kiran Bedi following a court order, indicates government is using pressure tactics against them to dilute the Lokpal Bill issue

Rather then defending themselves, it seems, Team Anna members have decided to attack any of the allegations made against any of its core members. They are even prepared to face contempt of court for that matter. In the latest incident, they hit back at the government for 'adopting pressure tactics' against Kiran Bedi, former cop and key member of Team Anna, by registering an FIR for charges of corruption following a court order. They believe that the recent order of the court is passed on a baseless complaint.

'willing to fight on': Kiran Bedi

Quid pro quo
Team Anna believes that since they are pressurising the government to bring a strong Jan Lokpal Bill, the government is using pressure tactics through the judiciary to malign the civil society activists and the India against Corruption movement time and again. The core members of Team Anna said they were willing to go to any extent to get the Jan Lok Pal Bill passed in Parliament.

Anna Hazare. File pics

The activists criticised the court order to lodge an FIR against Kiran Bedi for charges of corruption, terming it as "wrong, passed on absolutely false complaint". Speaking on behalf of Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal (another Team Anna member), on Monday said, "Even if it amounts to contempt of court, we would reply to it. We would also seek all legal measures in this case. Bedi herself wants her organisation and herself to be investigated by Delhi police."

Arvind Kejriwal

Unfair treatment?
Comparing the two orders of the same court, Kejriwal said, "We had submitted a 370-page complaint last year regarding wrong-doings and corruption in 18 contracts in the CWG games before the same judge, presenting thorough evidences for all our claims. But the judge did not find any base in the evidences and order any FIR, though we had not named any individual and had only asked for an investigation. But in our case, the same judge passed the order on a mere 4-page complaint that did not have any prima facie evidence against Bedi," he added.

Defending Bedi's case, Arvind Kejriwal said, "The two bodies - Vedanta Foundation and Microsoft India - which are claimed to have been cheated by Kiran Bedi as per the complaint filed by Devendra Singh Chauhan, are not the complainants in the petition. It is hard to digest that the entities, which were cheated, have not come forward to complain. It has rather been filed by a third individual, which makes no sense."

"Besides, Vedanta Foundation has sent us a letter on Monday that their MoU with IVF is well in place and they are together working for a cause which is being well achieved. Microsoft India had also sent us a mail on November 16, apprising us that they would shortly issue IVF a pay order for Rs 16 lakh for the project supporting the activities for India Police, valid till June 30, 2012. This shows that MS is well supporting IVF. As for their complete clarification on the cheating issue, they would also send us a letter shortly, like the Vedanta," Kejriwal said.The FIR, he said, was not about any cheating but because of the demands raised by us for a strong Lok Pal and a strong anti-corruption law.

Delhi police personnel, also present in the court, wanted to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the charges but the judge ignored them and simply ordered an FIR," Kejriwal rued."While passing the order for an FIR, the court observed that a person's complaint should be registered at a police station but at the same time, it ignored several SC orders and guidelines. We have a strong objection to the order," he said."If an FIR can be ordered against Kiran Bedi without hearing her, why can't an FIR be lodged against the men involved in CWG corruption? Let an investigation take place," Kejriwal added.

Court-ing controversy
Asked if an outburst against the judge would amount to contempt of court, Kejriwal said, "It is not contempt. We are bringing an issue of people among the people of the country," adding, "it is for this reason that we had been demanding inclusion of judiciary in the Lok Pal ambit so that they can't be influenced or pressurised easily, which has bee happening rampantly, till now". Interestingly, though Bedi was present there, she was mum throughout the press conference.

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