New Delhi: Blackmailers, rabble-rousers, third rate people doing third rate things - these are the words that Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid used to describe activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal and members of India Against Corruption (IAC), who have levelled charges of corruption against him and his wife, Louise.
Khurshid, who was in London for the past two days, returned to India on Sunday. His wife Louise had said that Khurshid would respond to all the allegations upon his return. She added that she herself has demanded a probe into the charges.
Speaking to reporters in London, Khurshid said, "I am here to be honoured by the Oxford University. I am overwhelmed by the affection and honour I got in Oxford over the past two days, while in my own country, third-rate people are doing third-rate things." In the same breath, he added, "This is all being done because they want to launch their own party. And they believe they will take over the country... My God... they will not be able to take the country. We will fight tooth and nail. Whatever it takes, we will fight. We will not give in to these blackmailers and rabble rousers..."
A TV sting operation had revealed certain irregularities in the usage of funds at the NGO run by Louise for the differently-abled, the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust. IAC activists also accused the duo of not organising health camps in 10 of the 17 districts they had demanded funds from the Centre for.
Khurshid, however, has refuted all the charges. "I have frankly nothing to hide. We have all the facts.. I know personally many of the officials that are being quoted... They say that no camps were held. There are pictures as proof and tomorrow, I will show those pictures. I'd like to see what they have to say about that. Are these pictures doctored? Are they imaginary? So I'd like to see what they have to say about that," said Khurshid.
The Congress, meanwhile, has gone all out to support its beleaguered leader. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Saturday said that Khurshid was not required to resign over the allegations. "Salman has a reputation of upright and honourable political leader and charges on him will have shattering influence on anybody. Let him comeback and give the real picture. There is a rule of law and this is not the way the government works," the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government is set to look into charges that the signature of a senior state government official was forged on a letter seeking funds for Louise's NGO. According to a 'The Times of India' report, the letter with the forged signature was allegedly used to request the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to release the second tranche of funds, amounting to Rs 68 lakh, for the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust in March 2011.