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Friday, 12 October 2012

More trouble for Khurshid, report says NGO got funds via forged letters

Despite persistent denials of wrongdoing, there's more embarrassment in store for Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise. According to a report in the Times of India, a letter with the forged signature of a senior Uttar Pradesh government official was allegedly used to request the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to release the second tranche of funds for Louise's trust for the differently-abled, the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust in March 2011.

The Trust reportedly received Rs 68 lakh after the letter, dated March 24, 2011, signed by a former special secretary of the Department of Disabled Welfare in Uttar Pradesh, assessed its work satisfactorily. The letter also recommended the Trust's name for further releases from the Welfare Ministry.

The officer in question, however, had retired from the UP government services in January 2011, nearly three months before the letter was sent. He has now sent a letter to the UP government saying that his signature was forged.

IAC plans jail bharo protest

Union Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise could face more heat on Saturday over an inspection report of a trust for the differently-abled run by Louise even as India Against Corruption (IAC) activists plan a 'jail bharo andolan' in Mumbai and protests in Chennai demanding the resignation of the Union Minister.

On Friday evening, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal and his IAC supporters were detained by the police after day-long protests against Khurshid over alleged misuse of funds at the Zakir Hussain Trust that is run by his family. Sources accessed a report from the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry which pointed out irregularities in implementing schemes for the differently-abled persons at the trust and the purchase of appliances for them.

However, Louise issued a strong denial pointing out that the report was not a CAG report and that no one had questioned her or any of the functionaries of the Trust. Louise even filed a defamation suit against the channel which carried the sting on her trust. Khurshid who is in London is expected to return on Sunday night. Congress party sources, however, say that there is no question of any resignation.

Kejriwal, however, is adamant. "It's the demand of the people. Salman Khurshid should resign. He has forged signature of government officials," he said, adding that the activists will not give up their fight. "The police has manhandled our activists without any reason. They are terrorising us... they are mistaken and we will not give up. These battles are fought on the streets. This is a political battle, its people's politics against corruption. They (Khurshid and his wife) should be arrested immediately."

He also demanded Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's resignation. "The UP CM has a lot to answer. The Samajwadi Party and the Congress are helping each other," he said.


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