New Delhi, Oct. 20: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today asked Arvind Kejriwal 27 questions, implying the anti-corruption crusader had a lot to answer for relating to his own credibility, commitments and foreign links.
Kejriwal, realising a trap had been laid for him, promptly refused to answer.
The activist had responded yesterday to the Congress leader’s letter in which Digvijaya recalled that Kejriwal had sought a job in the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council. But Kejriwal backed out today as these questions have serious implications, legally and otherwise.
Digvijaya, whose letter yesterday described Kejriwal as “a self-serving, ambitious megalomaniac with scant regard for democracy”, raised issues relating to alleged violation of service rules, anti-government activities while being in a government job, misappropriation of funds, political biases, association with unclean persons and double standards.
Congress leaders said Kejriwal’s refusal to answer the queries raised suspicions. The following questions read together explain what Digvijaya was hinting at:
As a serving officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), did you take permission of the government to form your NGO?
Is it a fact that your NGO Kabir received $172,000 in 2005 and $197,000 in 2008 from Ford Foundation?
Was this foreign money used to organise seminars, advocacy discussions, programmes, social media campaigns and publicity material related to the issue of corruption?
The Congress leader was obviously suggesting that foreign money was used to try and destabilise an elected government in India. He asked:
Being in service, did you take permission from your ministry to receive these foreign and private funds in your NGO?
Why are there no details of individual donors and corporate donors on any website of your NGOs?
We would also like to know your relationship with US-based NGO Avaaz, which has been funding civil disobedience movements in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. What is the logistical and other support your anti-corruption movement received from Avaaz?
Digvijaya reminded Kejriwal that the activist had declared his intention of leading a Tahrir Square-style movement in Delhi. He also raised issues of personal probity:
Is it a fact that you have diverted the funds which you received in the name of India Against Corruption to your NGO Parivartan/Public Cause Research Foundation?
Is it a fact that you took a cheque for Rs 2 crore to Anna Hazare and he refused to accept it as he felt the collection was much more?
Digvijaya asked how Kejriwal and his wife, also an IRS officer, had never served outside Delhi for 20 years although service norms say IRS officers are to “serve a posting only for three years in a place”.
The Congress leader posed a query about alleged violation of service rules and bond when Kejriwal went abroad on study leave.
In an apparent defence of Union law minister Salman Khurshid, Digvijaya asked Kejriwal why he had not demanded Hazare’s resignation when the Justice Sawant Commission found cases of misappropriation of funds and blackmailing in his trusts.
A hint was dropped about Kejriwal’s alleged links with Narendra Modi through questions about his silence on the chief minister’s attempts to block the appointment of a lokayukta in Gujarat and rampant corruption in BJP-ruled states.