India Against Corruption (IAC) leader Arvind Kejriwal Saturday announced an indefinite agitation to demand the resignation and arrest of Law Minister Salman Khurshid over alleged financial irregularities in his NGO even as the minister's wife Louise rubbished the allegations and the Congress came to his defence.
Kejriwal, who was arrested and detained along with 150 supporters at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi, was released late Friday night, but the activist and his supporters refused to leave the stadium till Saturday morning.
Kejriwal, IAC members Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia and Rashtriya Viklang Party (RVP) president K.K. Dikshit then reached Parliament Street, where Kejriwal announced the IAC decision to sit on an indefinite protest agitation outside the police station till the government acts on their demands.
Dikshit has alleged that Khurshid's NGO siphoned off funds meant for the disabled.
Salman Khurshid's wife Louise Khurshid Saturday slammed Kejriwal and a television channel for alleging that their NGO -Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust - had siphoned off lakhs of rupees meant for physically challenged people and termed the charges as false.
"Our papers are open to scrutiny. Every allegation they have made, we have countered. We have got the bills for everything I have all the facts and figures to show the allegations are false," Louise Khurshid told news channels.
"They found only three people who said they did not get the equipment. If we had done a fraud on such a mass scale, wouldn't they have found thousands of people (who did not get the equipment)? In 2009 and 2010 we distributed aids to 2,353 people and there are just three allegations out of the thousands," Louise said.
Louise Friday filed a civil defamation case in the Delhi High Court against the TV Today Group seeking damages of Rs.100 crore, said court sources.
According to the Aaj Tak 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.
While Salman Khurshid is the president of the trust, his wife is the project director.
Referring to a draft Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report allegedly pointing to irregularities in running of the trust, Louise said she had met the CAG and had been "assured" that the report would include her point of view.
Louise also termed Kejriwal as an "ambulance chaser".
"He is not a social activist anymore. He is running a political party and he is looking for issues. I regret that they are using the handicaps of people to try and build a political campaign. It is so unfair," she said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni came to the support of Khurshid saying he has a "reputation as a very upright and honourable political leader".
She said the charges of financial impropriety "would have a shattering effect on anybody", and added that Khurshid, who is abroad, should be allowed to come back and "give the real picture".