New Delhi: Anti-corruption activist and India Against Corruption (IAC) member Arvind Kejriwal is not backing down from the war of words with Law Minister Salman Khurshid over latter's NGO over misuse of government funds for the differently-abled. Kejriwal upped the ante against Khurshid and his wife Louise and said that his protest will continue till the Law Minister resigns. Kejriwal also said his own funds are open to scrutiny.
Kejriwal and his supporters returned to Jantar Mantar on Saturday after they were released from detention at a makeshift jail in Bawana in outer Delhi where they were kept since Friday evening and spent the night there as well.
They say they won't budge and will keep protesting until Khurshid is removed from the Cabinet and arrested along with his wife for alleged irregularities in the functioning of the NGO, Kejriwal said. Both Khurshid and wife have denied the charges.
According to a 'The Times of India' report, a letter with the forged signature of a senior Uttar Pradesh government official was allegedly used to request the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to release the second tranche of funds for Khurshid's wife Louise's trust for the differently-abled, the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust in March 2011.
Protesting against the Union Minister, Kejriwal and his supporters threw slippers at Khurshid's poster. "A law minister who forges signatures of bureaucrats, siphons off funds allotted for disabled, does he have a right to continue at his office? And, if Salman Khurshid stays free, he will threaten the officials and wipe off all evidences, so we demand his and his wife's arrest immediately," Kejriwal said addressing his supporters at Parliament Street in New Delhi.
Kejriwal and his supporters along with a group of differently-abled people from the Rashtriya Viklang Party had on Friday launched an indefinite protest close to Prime Minister's residence 7 RCR in New Delhi against Khurshid and his wife. They were, however, later in the day denied by Delhi Police. The protesters were bundled into a bus and taken to a local police station. Even after the detention, Kejriwal had reiterated that Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid must be asked to resign or he would tamper with evidence. He had said that India Against Corruption was protesting peacefully and the move of police to detain them was not expected.
The Union Minister, who is in London currently, has also reacted to the developments saying, "Mr Kejriwal should know that there is a rule of law in our country. He wants to play prosecutor, judge and executioner. Will be happy to take him on not only on TV channels but in court. He will discover that it takes proof to score a point in court." "Mobs and incited rabble-rousers cannot be allowed to oppress the country and destroy its morale. This is a test case for defeating the politics of blackmail and defamation," he added.
Khurshid had also filed a defamation suit against media group TV Today, which first carried the report. His wife had said that the documents being flashed by some news channels were not Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports.
Coming out in support of the Union Minister, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that Khurshid is 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, Kejriwal has also alleged that Delhi Police manhandled his supporters and the IAC activists. "The police have manhandled our activists without any reason. They are terrorising us... They are mistaken and we will not give up. These battles are fought on the streets. This is a political battle, its people's politics against corruption," he said. He also questioned the silence of the Opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party on the entire issue.