Questions were raised on Sunday about the use of funds donated by the public to Team Anna with Swami Agnivesh alleging that money was deposited in the trust run by Arvind Kejriwal from which the names of major team members were missing, a claim dismissed as made “out of anger”.
Besides Team Anna detractor Swami Agnivesh, another former member ‘Waterman’ Rajinder Singh also raised the issue urging Mr. Kejriwal to come clean on the controversy regarding donations to Anna Hazare movement, saying he could not see transparency in the matter as Team Anna preaches.
Team Anna dismissed the allegations, saying Swami Agnivesh might be levelling such accusations “out of anger”. Swami Agnivesh was removed from the Team following the surfacing of a video clip which purportedly showed him asking a person to deal strongly with Mr. Hazare.
They said all details regarding their accounts will be put on the website of Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), by this month-end after a special audit. Activist Kiran Bedi, who is facing allegations of overcharging institutions on travel bills, alleged that there was a “pattern to defame” Team Anna members and said “hang some of us if that helps”.
Swami Agnivesh, who had on Saturday alleged that Mr. Kejriwal has siphoned off over Rs. 80 lakh donated by people for Mr. Hazare’s agitation by diverting it to a trust run by him, said Mr. Hazare does not have his name in the PCRF run by Mr. Kejriwal.
“Even Justice Santosh Hegde, who has a clean image does not have his name in the trust. So, the main members of the team were not part of the Trust and the old trust where Kejriwal and his members were part... the money was deposited in their name,” he alleged.
“I am not blaming Kejriwal that he is deliberately doing so and does not want transparency. I am also not saying there is some fraud and corruption in accounts,” Mr. Angivesh said, insisting that his protest is only for transparency.
Claiming that Mr. Hazare was keen to have a new trust and include new members, Swami Agnivesh said he wanted to complete the audit by October 15 and had asked Mr. Kejriwal to put on the website the details of donations received by them in the core committee meeting.
Maintaining that his protest in only for transparency, he said, “I have said this (to give details of accounts) because if they will do it as soon as possible, there won’t be any doubt and question. If they will delay, people would question why the accounts are not given“.
“India Against Corruption campaign is about transparency. When we are fighting against corruption, then transparency is main and important part of it, accountability is second part of it,” he said.
“In the middle there were questions raised on Indian Vision Foundation and on Kiran Bedi’s flight fare controversy and all then it has become more important to check the accounts of old trusts,” he said.
Swami Angivesh had on Saturday alleged that all donations which were made for the India Against Corruption (IAC) were diverted to PCRF run by Mr. Kejriwal and that the latter was delaying the opening of a bank account in the name of IAC.
Maintaining that they were “transparent” in their functioning, Mr. Kejriwal’s associate and Team Anna member Manish Sisodia said, “Our accounts are already on the website. We have conducted a special audit for the last six months and by the month end we are putting the details on the website.”
On Swami Agnivesh, he said, “We have no animosity with Swami Agnivesh. He could have said something out of anger. It’s not in our custom to rebut against anything that an elderly says.
He is a good person and we all respect him.”
He said Mr. Hazare was aware that donations were being deposited in the Foundation account and nothing was hid from him.
Reacting to the developments, Ms. Bedi said, “There is obviously a pattern to defame every member of Team Anna. It has been systematic from day one.”
“Team Anna is paying a personal cost for raising national concerns on rampant corruption and voter awareness to ensure the passing of the bill in Parliament,” she said.
She said this only underscores the need to stay focussed on the Winter Session of Parliament and ensure that the Jan Lokpal Bill is enacted.
Ms. Bedi said the Hazare movement was of millions and there was a need for staying united. “After that hang some of us if that helps. If my saving for poor by means I followed is wrong I be punished. Same Lokpal can punish me. Distraction is being manipulated,” she said.
Mr. Singh, who quit Team Anna recently following differences, urged Team Anna to come clean on the controversy, saying he could not see transparency in the matter as Team Anna preaches.
He alleged that Team Anna could have erred in the matter as they did in plunging into “party politics. “They preach transparency but in this case, we cannot see any transparency. They should come clean on this. We are not super humans and we all make mistakes. But the moment you realise it, one should correct it and come out clean.”
“There are doubts about the Hazare movement. A lot of time has been lost before getting things in order. One should come clean as fast as one can because government may use pressure to curb the movement,” Mr. Singh said, adding accounts were not discussed in the Core Committee meetings.
At the same time he said, “They might have erred in this matter like the way they plunged into party politics. All movements are political but taking active part in party politics is a different thing.”
Asked whether the Hazare movement has lost its way, Mr. Singh said it started with one particular purpose but now it seems, it has other purposes.