The IAC leader alleges cover-up deal between U.P. government, Khurshid
Alleging that Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s “lie has been exposed” through the same evidence he put forward to counter charges of financial irregularities in the Trust run by him and his wife Louise, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal here on Sunday raised a suspicion that a deal had now been struck with the Samajwadi-Party-led Uttar Pradesh government for a cover-up.
“Mr. Khurshid’s bluff has been called. The photograph presented by him at the press conference today [Sunday], which shows that Chief Development Officer J.B. Singh was present at a camp for distribution of aid among the physically challenged, itself exposes, through a banner therein, that the camp was organised in July 2010. It means that the camp was held during the financial year 2010-11 and not in the year 2009-10 as has been claimed,” said Mr. Kejriwal.
The India Against Corruption leader said that while an affidavit purported to have been given by Mr. J.B. Singh (on September 27) praising the work of the Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust — run by the Law Minister and his wife — had been produced as a defence, Mr. J.B. Singh had categorically denied having given such an affidavit and described it as “forged.” The affidavit states that the signature on the test checklist for 2009-10 for two camps organised by the Trust was of Mr. J.B. Singh.
“On behalf of the physically challenged and the general public, we had sought answers to five questions from Mr. Khurshid, but he refused to reply stating that he would not entertain the questions raised by those on the streets. At the press conference, he brought forth only one beneficiary of the camps organised by the Trust. We will come up with evidence to counter the claims at 11 a.m. on Monday,” said the former Indian Revenue Service officer.
The IAC, which has raised the issue in coordination with the Rashtriya Viklang Party, said Mr. Khurshid’s Trust had forwarded a letter to the Centre, purportedly written by the Uttar Pradesh government expressing satisfaction over the work done by the Trust in 2009-10 and recommending further release of funds. “The letter dated March 24, 2011, bore signature of the then Special Secretary Ramraj Singh Yadav, but according to media reports, Mr. [Ramraj] Singh has said it was not his signature. He also pointed out that the letter had purportedly been issued on March 24, 2001, whereas he had retired in January that year,” said Mr. Kejriwal.
Stating that allegations against the Trust were not being made by IAC, but were the findings of the U.P. government, Mr. Kejriwal quoted a letter, dated June 12, 2012 to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in which the Special Secretary to the U.P. government submitted a report allegedly citing serious irregularities against the Trust.
“The letter noted that as regards the funds received by the Trust from the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in 2009-2010, signature of various officials in the Trust check reports on camps organised in 10 of the 17 districts were found forged,” said Mr. Kejriwal. The letter purportedly identified cases in which signatures of officials were forged, the department mentioned did not exist, or seals and signatures were forged. The letter also purportedly mentioned that on comparison, there was a mismatch between the signature of Ramraj Singh Yadav and that seen on a letter said to have been written by him.
Pointing out that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had in June sought a clarification from the Trust on the issue within 15 days of the receipt of the letter, Mr. Kejriwal alleged that the Trust had not yet sent a proper clarification.
The IAC leader said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was now saying that the investigations were under way and alleged that the issue had probably been “settled between both [Mr. Yadav and Mr. Khurshid]”.
IAC members Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai and Kumar Vishwas and their supporters are on a dharna on Parliament Street demanding the resignation and arrest of the Union Law Minister along with his wife. Earlier on Saturday, they took out a march at Connaught Place and their supporters held a protest outside Mr. Khurshid’s residence, following which they were detained.