The government and the Congress party, on Monday, rallied behind Salman Khurshid, ruling out his resignation even as his detractors upped the ante against the Law Minister with Arvind Kejriwal levelling fresh allegations of financial irregularities in an NGO run by him.
Union Ministers Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad dismissed speculation that Mr Khurshid was being isolated within the government.
“There is no question of isolation or not backing (Khurshid),” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in Delhi after a meeting of the Group of Ministers on Media.
Speaking on a similar vein, Health Minister Azad said, “There is no question of distancing. He (Khurshid) has made it clear that there is nothing wrong.”
Mr Khurshid, who also attended the meeting, refused to answer any questions and left waving a thumbs up sign to media persons.
On its part, Congress rejected the demand for Mr Khurshid’s resignation saying he had on Sunday “effectively countered” the charges levelled against him.
“Now the UP government has instituted an inquiry,” Congress party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said. He went on to add that courts were there to decide on the issue.
Asked about television channel reports showing that some persons declared beneficiaries by the Trust are not the actual ones, Mr Dikshit said he had talked to Mr Khurshid’s wife Louise, who is the Project Director of the Trust, and she had clarified the matter.
“The allegations levelled have no fact. Salman Khurshid has put across his views against the allegations very strongly. The thing is that those, who are facing the allegations, have themselves asked for a probe into the matter. This reflects their self-confidence on the matter” he said.
On questions relating to Mr Vadra, he said whatever issues raised have been effectively countered.
“He is a private individual and he is welcome to do his business,” Mr Dikshit said adding the concerned state (Haryana) government of Congress has said there is nothing of that sort as alleged regarding Vadra’s business deals with DLF.
“Kejriwal’s charges have been effectively addressed by Vadra and DLF,” he said.
The AICC briefing also saw Mr Dikshit facing questions like why he was not countering Mr Kejriwal’s charges strongly, to which he said each allegation does not need to be responded to and that “I do not think they are worth responding too much”.
The Congress spokesperson also said the team of Mr Arvind Kejriwal keeps changing strategy. “They had once said that we won’t leave Jantar Mantar till we pass the Lokpal Bill,” Mr Dikshit said.
He said each political party or individual, including Mr Kejriwal, functions in his own way but “there is a system with which inquiries happen. If somebody wants to change the system, one can do it after coming to power.”
Replying to questions, he said he has been maintaining for long that NGOs should take responsibilities if they use public funds.
In Lucknow, the Economic Offences Wing of UP Police started collecting documents in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities.
“EOW teams are collecting documents at various levels including state, divisional and district headquarters as a part of the investigation,” Director General EOW, Subrat Tripathi told PTI.
A PIL was filed in the registry of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court seeking registration of an FIR against the Minister and his wife Louise Khurshid. The petitioner wanted the court to monitor the case.