New Delhi/Lucknow, Oct. 15: Activist Arvind Kejriwal today asked people to burn effigies of “today’s Ravans, who are these corrupt politicians” at this year’s Dussehra.
His associate Gopal Rai went a step further, announcing the phone number of the Prime Minister’s Office so that people could call and complain about alleged corruption by UPA ministers.
Kejriwal also produced more purported evidence of ghost beneficiaries having received aid from the Uttar Pradesh NGO run by law minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise for the differently abled.
The India Against Corruption activist ended his indefinite agitation outside Parliament Street police station on its fourth day, possibly because it had evoked little public response, but threatened to restart it from November 1 in Farrukhabad, Khurshid’s Lok Sabha constituency.
Kejriwal said his party would field a differently abled person against Khurshid from Farrukhabad in the next Lok Sabha election.
He told a gathering of around 100 supporters: “You should choose your Ravan from whichever political party (you want) but burn the effigies of today’s Ravans (at Dussehra).”
Kejriwal lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not granting an audience sought for representatives of the differently abled.
“I refuse to accept him as my Prime Minister. He has sat in his office as India’s PM but allows this wrongdoing to take place.”
The activist said the Congress and the BJP were hand in glove when it came to corruption.
“In a couple of days, (BJP chief Nitin) Gadkari will be exposed,” Kejriwal said, postponing the day of exposure from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Kejriwal hopes to keep the issue of Robert Vadra’s alleged corruption alive. He said he would take part in a “mahapanchayat” of farmers to expose alleged links between Vadra, DLF and other real estate companies in land deals in Haryana.
He asked the people of Delhi to switch off the lights at their homes for an hour on November 2 to protest the power tariff hike in the capital.
Kejriwal repeated his allegation that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who faces an assets case in the Supreme Court, and the Congress had struck a deal to save Khurshid.
“We are getting more documents that expose corruption in the NGO that the Khurshids run,” he said.
He challenged the law minister’s claim that no irregularities had taken place in the distribution of hearing aids and wheelchairs by the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, run by the Khurshids.
As “evidence”, he produced Pankaj Kumar, who he claimed figures on the trust’s list of beneficiaries in Mainpuri district as having received a hearing aid.
“The NGO’s document (that it has) given to the government claims he (Pankaj Kumar) has been provided with a hearing aid. But he has problems in his legs and not his ears. What is more, he didn’t receive any hearing aid,” Kejriwal said. Kumar corroborated this.
Vivek Yadav, an India Against Corruption activist from Mainpuri, claimed the group had looked for beneficiaries in the Dewar block but failed to locate Santosh Kumari and Shashi Mohan, whom the trust claimed to have provided with wheelchairs.
Dayaram, another alleged beneficiary who is shown to have received a tricycle, never received one and nor is he disabled, Kejriwal alleged.
He said the heartland state’s Samajwadi government was busy forcing bureaucrats to “erase all evidence” of irregularities and fraud in the trust’s functioning. “In another 10 days, all proof would vanish,” he said.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dismissed such allegations. “Apprehensions that a probe (into the charges against the Khurshids’ trust) under the Samajwadi government won’t be impartial are unfounded,” he said.
“The investigation... will reach its logical conclusion. I cannot comment on it before the investigation is complete. How can one prejudge the outcome of the probe before it is complete and say it would not be fair?”
Khurshid had claimed that his trust had held 17 camps in Uttar Pradesh to distribute cycle rickshaws and hearing aids, and produced photographs in support of this.
One of these featured a state government monitor, J.B. Singh, whose signature was alleged to have been forged. Khurshid had produced the picture purporting to establish Singh’s presence at a camp and claimed the photograph wasn’t morphed.
Kejriwal today agreed the photograph had not been morphed but alleged it was from a different year and not 2011 as Khurshid had claimed.
Kejriwal alleged that another person who was shown as having received a hearing aid in 2011 had died in 2009. He cited more media reports from Uttar Pradesh on the alleged irregularities in the trust’s functioning.
Officials of Uttar Pradesh’s economic offences wing said they had conducted raids on disabled welfare centres across 16 western districts as part of the probe. They said the probe might take another two to three months.