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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Kejriwal hits back at Digvijaya, dares PM, Sonia for debate

Agencies  New Delhi, October 21, 2012
First Published: 08:44 IST(21/10/2012) | Last Updated: 13:52 IST(21/10/2012)

Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday dared the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for a public debate and said India Against Corruption will answer questions raised against it only after Congress leadership and Robert Vadra come clean on charges of corruption.

A day after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh posed questions to Kejriwal on funding of his NGO and other issues, the activist hit back saying he was willing to reply to all queries but Singh should first convice Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and others to answer issues raised by the people.

"We had put some questions to Robert Vadra and the Prime Minister. Let them answer first. Then, we will answer all questions from Digvijaya Singh. I request Singh to encourage Mrs Gandhi, Prime Minister or Rahul Gandhi to come for a public debate.

"Let's question each other and let public question us on personal and public issues. Is Digvijaya Singh ready? If he cannot convince his party bosses or the PM, then people would think he is doing all this for cheap publicity and to divert attention," Kejriwal said.

He said the leadership did not answer questions on Vadra or Lokpal and he wants Singh to get the answers from the Prime Minister, Vadra and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

"They can ask us any number of questions about our personal life, we will answer. Then we will ask them...they should also answer in public," he said.

When asked about Singh's remarks that there was evidence against the kin of AB Vajpayee and LK Advani of alleged corruption but Congress will never use that to embarrass them, Kejriwal said his group has been talking about each party protecting others' interest.

"They are not bringing these issues out not on moral grounds but on corrupt grounds. I congratulate Singh for confessing this. He has evidence of corruption against (senior BJP leaders' kin)...BJP has evidence against Vadra and Singh. But both have an understanding," he alleged.

Earlier on Saturday, Digvijaya Singh stepped up his attack on Arvind Kejirwal, asking him 27 questions but the IAC termed this a tactic to divert the people's attention from cases of corruption.

The IAC has also claimed that Singh is raising questions against Kejriwal to divert public attention from the issues of alleged corruption involving NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

Responding to Singh's questionnaire to Kejriwal, IAC's Manish Sisodia on Saturday said they have answered these queries earlier
when raised by the Prime Minister's Office and the finance ministry.

"They have got our enquiry done, they have answers to all these questions. But still these questions are being raised to divert public attention from the issues raised against Pawar and Gadkari," Sisodia said.

"All of them are together so that no attention is paid to their corruption," he said.

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Singh asked Kejriwal about foreign funding of an NGO with whom he is associated and violation of service rules while he was an Indian Revenue Service officer.

The Congress leader, who had Friday called Kejriwal a "self-serving ambitious megalomaniac with scant regard for democracy", also asked him whey he "never raised" the issue of corruption in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.

IAC however described the questions as diversionary tactics for switching the attention of the people from real issue of ever increasing corruption and the issues that affects their daily lives.

It said these questions will be placed before the people who would decide about them.

In his letter to Kejriwal, Digvijay Singh said that he had preached that politicians should not violate rules and regulations, "but to the best of my knowledge you have violated provisions of All India Service Rules yourself".

He also asked the activist if he would resign from the IAC and give up public life if his colleagues in the NGO were found to have been involved in irregularities.

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Singh sought to know why there were no details of individual donors and corporate donors on any website of his NGOs, and if NGO Kabir, with whom Kejriwal wase closely associated, 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?" he asked.

He also sought to know Kejriwal's "relationship with US-based NGO Avaaz, which has been funding civil disobedience movement in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria?"

"What is the logistical and other support your anti-corruption movement received from Avaaz. Is it a fact you had announced to lead a Tahrir Square like movement in Delhi?" Singh asked.

Singh said while Kejriwal has been pressing for Jan Lokpal from the central government, he had not questioned Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, "who has successfully blocked appointment of Lokayuktas in Gujarat since 2002".

He also raised questions about Kejriwal's service in the Indian Revenue Service, asking if he and his wife, who is also in the IRS, had never served outside Delhi.

Kejriwal was also asked if he did not join office after being transferred to Chandigarh, then sought voluntary retirement from service and even without it being approved, absented from office.

Among the other questions were on charges of misappropriation of funds collected in the anti-corruption stir.

Reacting to the questions, an India Against Corruption (IAC) statement said that the reply to them was available with the various government ministries and departments.

Attacking the Congress leader, the IAC said that it was significant to note who was asking question from Kejriwal. "It is the same Digvijaya Singh who had described Anna Hazare a RSS agent, defended the loot by Robert Vadra and DLF and one who refuses to accept that coalgate and 2G was a scam."

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)


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