Law minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday presented photographs and documents to refute allegations of misappropriation of funds by his family-run Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.
A visibly angry Khurshid said he was ready for a probe into the charges that the trust embezzled Rs. 71 lakh given in grant by the Centre. A decision on him continuing in the cabinet, however, would be taken by the Congress leadership, he said.
“I will meet the Prime Minister to share my experiences with him,” said the minister, who addressed the media with his wife, Louise, within hours of his return from London.
Sources in the Congress said Khurshid, who is the president of the trust that works for the disabled, had provided voluminous documents in his defence and there was no indication of any action against him.
“Nothing on Rs. 71 lakh can be proved... Not a word can be proved. They can scream, scream and scream till they turn blue in their face,” Khurshid told reporters in his 100-minute interaction, which saw heated exchanges between him and the journalists of the TV Today group, which carried out a sting operation against the trust.
Union minister for law and justice Salman Khurshid along with his wife Louise Khurshid address a press conference in New Delhi.
(Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times)
The minister’s supporters, too, had arguments with the journalists of Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. Tempers ran high. At one point the minister even got up to end the press conference, but his wife and staff convinced him to stay on.
Khurshid said he had nothing to hide. “Let there be any inquiry by any authority. It can be CAG. Inquiry should find out who’s responsible for this. But the inquiry should cover the role of India Today group as well,” he said.
India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is holding a dharna demanding the minister's resignation, rejected his defence. “He has shown photos which are not of the period for which the grant was given….We will give fresh proof against him tomorrow (Monday),” he said.
If the government were to continue with Khurshid, his organisation would put up a disabled person against the law minister in the 2014 elections, Kejriwal said.
'Furious' Khurshid defends self
Union minister for law and justice Salman Khurshid along with his wife Louise Khurshid address a press conference in New Delhi.(Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times)
Earlier, he posed five questions to Khurshid on the alleged misuse of grant by the trust.
The minister, however, ignored questions and said the activist was free to continue with his protest.