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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 15, 2012
Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma generated much controversy on Monday when he sought to defend his cabinet colleague Salman Khurshid by saying Rs. 71 lakh was a “very small amount” for a Central minister.

“Salman Khurshid is a responsible person. He is a Central minister...When he is saying there is no scam, he should be believed...,” Verma said. “I don’t think a person like Khurshid will do anything for an amount like Rs. 71 lakh. It is a very small amount for a Central minister.”

Verma said this in the context of charges that a trust run by Khurshid and his wife Louise had misappropriated funds worth Rs. 71 lakh meant for the disabled. Khurshid has rejected the allegation.

“If it would have been Rs. 710 crore, I would have taken it more seriously,” Verma said, rejecting the demand for Khurshid's resignation.



Attacking Kejriwal, who has gone hammer and tongs against Khurshid, Verma said: “Kejriwal is going to launch a party. I wish him all the best. India has a multi-party system and one more will come. It’s good. But, I have a piece of advice for him: Don’t bark day in day out, try sometimes to roar like a lion. Barking day and night gives the impression of being very small.”

The BJP was quick to retort, saying Verma should focus on his ministry rather than making such statements. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/10/16_10_pg10a.jpg

“Beni Prasad Verma is another Digvijaya Singh. He is not focussing on his ministry and is giving such statements,” said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain. The Congress distanced itself from Verma’s comment, saying it was his personal view.