Amid the controversy surrounding his family-run Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, law minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday found himself in another row as TV channels aired footage that was interpreted as a threat to India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal.
"I have been made the law minister and asked to work with the pen. I will work with the pen, but also with blood," the footage showed Khurshid telling his supporters on Tuesday night.
Apparently referring to Kejriwal's threat to stage protests in his Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh from November 1, Khurshid said: "Let them come to Farrukhabad and visit Farrukhabad. But let him also return from Farrukhabad."
"They say we will ask questions and you have to give answers. We say you hear the answers and forget about asking questions," he said.
Kejriwal, who has alleged financial bungling of over Rs. 71 lakh by Khurshid's trust, interpreted the comments as a murder threat.
File photo of Salman Khurshid in Ahmedabad. AFP
"My life is not in Khurshid's hands. It's in the hands of God. We will go to Farrukhabad and return from there as well... No purpose will be solved by murdering me. If one Arvind is killed, 100 others will be born," he said.
The Congress dismissed Kejriwal's claims and said he had the option of filing a police complaint if he felt threatened by the minister.
"How can anyone stop him from taking the course of law? But we are sure he will not take this course as he is only interested in cheap publicity," said party spokesman Rashid Alvi.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is in-charge of the party in Uttar Pradesh, refused to comment.
Khurshid's remarks gave the Opposition a handle to attack him. The CPI demanded the minister be sacked if it was established that he had threatened Kejriwal with dire consequences.
"This is the language of criminals and not of a law minister," said CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta in Mumbai.