HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Kejriwal sets up mini-lokpal to probe own party

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Mumbai, October 19, 2012
First Published: 13:28 IST(19/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:23 IST(20/10/2012)

Under pressure to come clean on allegations of improper land deals against some of his prominent colleagues, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal announced the setting up of a panel of three retired judges on Friday.

He said former Delhi high court chief justice AP Shah, former Bombay high court judge BH Marlapalle and former Delhi high court judge Jaspal Singh would probe the allegations against social activists Prashant Bhushan, Anjali Damania and Mayank Gandhi.

But the Congress slammed Kejriwal, saying the announcement of internal probe was only an eye-wash.

Bhushan welcomed the announcement, saying he was ready to face any probe since he had nothing to hide.

Anjali Damania is seen during a press conference in New Delhi. PTI

The IAC decision came after the Congress party alleged that the BJP government of Himachal Pradesh had allowed Bhushan to buy a tea estate at Palampur in violation of rules.

On Friday, Damania faced allegations that she purchased agricultural land in Maharashtra and sold it four years later after getting its land use changed. Gandhi has been accused of having close links with some Mumbai builders.

Both Damania and Gandhi denied any wrongdoing and volunteered to face inquiry.

"These allegations are all baseless. If the government wants it can constitute a probe or our internal lokpal will do so," said Gandhi.

Damania reacted in a similar way, rubbishing the allegations.

She said, "I have not done any benami transactions and everything is in public domain."

Kejriwal, who heads the India Against Corruption, said, "We have from time to time requested the government to launch an independent enquiry into the matter and give us double the punishment than prescribed if found guilty. Unfortunately, the government has been more interested in mud-slinging."

He said if any member is found guilty of any illegal or immoral activity, he would have to resign from the proposed party.

Asked whether a probe by a panel set up by the IAC itself would be seen as credible by the public, Kejriwal replied: "These judges enjoy a reputation of high integrity and will have complete independence to inquire into any charges made against key members of the IAC."

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