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Was UP govt aware of charges against Khurshid's trust?

By Renu Mittal
October 16, 2012 00:06 IST
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Information against Salman Khurshid's trust was given out by persons in the Congress party and attempts are on to find out who is behind it, reports Renu Mittal.

Despite the sound and fury, Union Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise continue to be in the firing line with regard to the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust even as both the government and the Congress party stand by him and say there is no question of his resignation. Khurshid himself has denied he has any intention of resigning from the post.

While activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal has suspended his stir against Salman Khurshid and says he will continue the agitation against the law minister from November 1 in his constituency Farukkhabad, the Uttar Pradesh government is conducting an enquiry into allegations that completion certificates and letters issued to the trust were forged.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav says he will only be able to speak on the subject after the report of the enquiry committee is out. In the meantime, a public interest litigation has also been moved in the Allahabad high court on the Salman-Louise trust issue.

The controversy has deepened with the Bulandshahr handicapped welfare officer saying his predecessor never signed on the documents of the beneficiaries shown by the Zakir Hussain Trust.

According to the official, Sushil Kumar Gautam, his predecessor had told the state government that her signature on a report on equipment distributed to 42 disabled people was forged.  He said that the block development officers (BDO) are now conducting a physical check on the beneficiaries. He says that so far only two of the four BDO's have submitted their reports. According to the report, in Sayana all four named have benefited, while in Jehangirabad block, only one benefited. The charge is that the trust did not give them any information on the camps it held.

According to Gautam, the director of the handicapped welfare, the UP government wrote to the district welfare officer Bulandshahr in June 2011 to verify 42 beneficiaries and the signature of the officer. "Shrimati Rashmi" who was then in-charge said the signature wasn't hers.

This clearly means the investigation into this has been on for over a year and sources say that the UP government had been fully aware that there were charges of fraud in the form of forged signatures. 

Sources in the Congress say that the information against Salman-Louise and the activities of the Trust has obviously been given out by persons in the Congress party and since it's an inside job, attempts are on to find out who exactly is behind this.

Another Union minister from UP, Beni Prasad Verma, made a tongue-in cheek defence of Salman Khurshid when he said that Rs 71 lakh is too small an amount for a Cabinet minister to cheat and added that if it had been Rs 71 crore he would have been worried. These are just the kind of comments that Salman Khurshid does not need at this stage since after his bitter spat with the media on Sunday, there appears to be a combined attempt by the electronic media to take on the Union law minister and dig out more dirt on his activities and that of the trust.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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