New Delhi: Anti-corruption crusader-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal has promised action over the allegations against key members of India Against Corruption (IAC). The group has assured that an internal investigation will be started into allegations against activists Anjali Damania, Prashant Bhushan and Mayank Gandhi. Gandhi and Damania also addressed a press conference assuring full cooperation in the probe even as the Congress questioned the "internal Lokpal probe".
According to a statement released by the IAC, they have formed an independent ombudsman to investigate any charges against their members. This came even as the government said that the IAC could not order a probe against itself.
MoS PMO V Narayanasamy said an accused party cannot order a probe on its own self. "One can't probe self. How can the Lokpal probe its own members? An independent third party will have to probe this," he said.
However, Kejriwal took the opportunity to welcome the government to conduct a probe on the issue. He requested the government to order a probe, saying, "We will send all reports, allegations and questions to three judges on Monday. We request the judges to submit a report as quickly as possible. We also request the government to investigate allegations against us."
Meanwhile Congress general secretary Manish Tewari addressed a press conference in the national capital questing the internal probe by the anti-corruption group, and termed IAC as the "B team of the BJP".
Earlier, Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania said that they were ready for an investigation against them into the allegations they are facing. Addressing a press conference, Gandhi and Damania welcomed the internal probe of the IAC against them and assured that they would answer all the questions posed to them.
"All those against whom allegations have been leveled, including me and Anjali Damani, should be enquired into…we will be giving an e-mail address where complaints against us too could be sent for investigation," said Mayank Gandhi.
Referring to the investigation panel, the anti-corruption activist said that Justice(Retd) AP Shah, Justice(Retd) BH Marlapalle and Justice(Retd) Jaspal Singh had been asked by the IAC to conduct an internal enquiry against them.
Asserting that the IAC members were upfront about the investigation, social activist from Maharashtra, Anjali Damania said, "The India Express has come out with an allegation…there will be a number of allegations that will come against us. We are upfront about investigations."
Damania further assured that she would be answerable to each and every question from the ombudsman panel. She said, "If we are fighting corruption, then we ourselves should be answerable," adding that all the papers required during the investigation would be produced.
Damania, however, questioned the timing of the allegations against her. She said, "Why weren't questions raised earlier? The land was bought in 2006, why is it being raised in 2012? The political class is trying to confuse everybody."
Allegations against Damania, Bhushan:
Kejriwal's associates, particularly Anjali Damania has been charged with having profited from a land deal, a charge she has already levelled at BJP President Nitin Gadkari.
BJP hit back at Damania on Thursday, releasing a letter written by the activist to the Maharashtra irrigation department. In the June 2011 letter released by BJP, Damania says that the location of a proposed dam coming up in Kondhane-Karjat be shifted by about 500 to 700 metres so that 30 acres of her property would not get submerged.
In her letter, Damania says that there is no private land but Adivasi land beyond 700 metres and she mentions that the Adivasis can be adequately compensated. The BJP has alleged that Anjali Damania had her own land issues, which led her to target BJP President Nitin Gadkari.
Reacting to BJP's charges, Damania accused the BJP of arm twisting. "I have not done anything wrong. If this was a case of personal vengeance, I would not have fought, but sorted it out on a personal level," Damania said.
Union Minister Rajiv Shukla on Wednesday demanded an inquiry into the allotment of tea garden land in Himachal Pradesh to activist Prashant Bhushan alleging "gross violation of all rules and regulations". Making a strong pitch for a probe, Shukla said that not even Himachal people could buy tea garden land and in any eventuality land use cannot be changed.
Shukla said that when party MLA Sudhir Sharma had raised the issue in the Assembly, the state government had accepted that the land had been allotted to the Kumud Bhushan Education Society but no school is being run there. Alleging that the land has been given in gross violations of rules and regulations, he said that while commercial value of the land at Palampur in Kangra district was Rs 10 crore, it was given to the Society for a few lakh rupees.