The Shanti Bhushan CD controversy escalated on Sunday, with journalist and anti-corruption activist Vineet Narain calling upon Anna Hazare to remove the father-son duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan from the membership of the Lokpal drafting committee.
“Ideally, the Bhushans should themselves resign voluntarily from the committee for at least the period of investigations in the CD case. This would be in the best interest of probity in public life”, Narain told a press conference.
Quoting the HT report of April 16, Narain pointed out that newspaper reports clearly suggested that forensic experts who had examined the CD had said that it had not been tampered with.
“I am not surprised by the exposure because I have burnt my fingers with the Bhushans during my Jain Hawala crusade from 1993 onwards”, Narain said.
Narain also charged that the Bhushans along-with Ram Jethmalani had earlier attempted to “sabotage and derail” the biggest crusade against corruption in the Jain Hawala case.
“Ram Jethmalani and his associates (the Bhushans) created an atmosphere when then Chief Justice JS Verma ignored the main prayers in my case in the Jain Hawala case” Narain said, adding that this was not the first time that he was making this charge.
“I have extensively written and spoken about these issues in my book “Hawala Ke Deshdrohi” (published 1999) and syndicated columns which appear in several vernacular regional dailies”, Narain said in a statement.
“Controversy and suspicion had arisen even earlier on the Bhushans and it appears that Anna Hazare was not fully aware of the actual state of the Delhi civil society”, said Narain, while appealing to Hazare to correct this aberration (including the Bhushans in the drafting committee) in the best interests of transparency, probity and propriety.
“The people of India are befuddled and bewildered and large sections of civil society is not in favour of the continuance of the Bhushans in the Lokpal drafting committee, as this would create an atmosphere of doubts and suspicion in the minds of the people”, Narain said.
The continuance of the Bhushans in the Lokpal committee will throw cold water on the entire effort and struggle of Anna Hazare towards drafting a law to combat the menace of corruption, said Narain, who shot into limelight for his exposes into the Jain Hawala case in the mid nineties.
Even as Prashant Bhushan has alleged that the CD conversation involving his father was “doctored and spliced”, Narain said that doubts and suspicions had been created in the minds of the common man because of the contradictory statements of the three main players involved in the unsavory episode (Shanti Bhushan, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh).
“Prashant Bhushan has said on record in many TV interviews that his father never met or spoke with Amar Singh, while Singh claims that he has been getting good advise from Shanti Bhushan”, Narain pointed out.
Narain further said that both Singh and Yadav had not denied that the voice in the CD was theirs.
On the contents of the CD, Narain said that threadbare investigations were necessary to ascertain the veracity of the damaging statements allegedly attributed to Shanti Bhushan. Shanti Bhushan is alleged to have said: ‘Ek hi tarika hai, Prashant bahut accha manage karte hain’ (There is just one way; Prashant manages very well).
“The moot question is – what does Prashant manage? Does he manage his clients? The judiciary? Or the overall system”, Narain asked.