Press Council of India (PCI) chief Markandey Katju on Monday sought a probe by the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) into the allegations of corruption against Union minister Salman Khurshid.
In a letter to NBSA chairman former chief justice JS Verma, Katju -- a former Supreme Court judge -- said a controversy was raised by the India Today Group about the NGO, Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, headed by Khurshid. His wife Louise is project director with the NGO.
Retaliating, Khurshid has levelled counter-allegations against the India Today Group, Katju said in his letter released on Monday.
According to television channel Aaj Tak's report, the union social welfare and empowerment ministry had granted Rs 71.50 lakh to the Khurshids' NGO for distributing tricycles and hearing aids to the disabled in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The television channel has alleged financial misappropriation by the Khurshids in running the trust.
The PCI chief said that some senior lawyers who called on him (Katju) suggested that in view of counter-versions from both sides, it would be appropriate if the matter could be examined by a person of high stature.
"Everyone holds you in very high respect and, therefore, I would request you to hold an inquiry into the matter thoroughly and make your findings public so that whoever is innocent is exonerated and whoever is guilty is exposed," Katju urged in a letter addressed to Verma.
Katju pointed out that "the (Khurshid) incident is not an isolated one. Often complaints are made that in their hurry to give breaking news, the media, especially the broadcast media, does not do proper investigations before attacking someone's reputation".
Katju cited the reference of Chapter 2 Shloka 34 of the Bhagwad Gita where Lord Krishna said to Arjun: "For a self respecting man, death is preferable to dishonour."
"I would, therefore, respectfully request you to hold a thorough inquiry into the allegations against Salman Khurshid as also against the India Today Group after hearing all persons concerned, and make your report public, so that people will know the truth," Katju urged.