M A I N   N E W S

Rs 32 lakh is Hazare’s Lokpal campaign cost
Received Rs 82 lakh through donations: Activists
Vibha Sharma /TNS

New Delhi, April 15
A day before the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill meets for the first time, the civil society members, who are part of the panel, today fielded questions on corruption charges levelled against some of them.

NGO India Against Corruption, which spearheaded the campaign to draft a strong anti-corruption Bill, had promised to release assets of veteran activist Anna Hazare and other four members of the society, Shanti Bhushan, Santosh Hegde, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.

However, the activists’ effort to maintain transparency was somewhere lost in allegations of land deal surrounding former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan and observations made by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh regarding the constitution of the panel. Kejriwal declared that the movement received a total of Rs 82,87, 668, all through donations from the general public. Out of this, the total expenditure incurred on the campaign was Rs 32,69,900. “The balance amount remaining with us is 50,17,768,” he said.

And while rejecting Digvijay’s observation that Kejriwal was a ‘chela’ of well-known social activist Aruna Roy, who, as per the senior Congress leader would have been a better choice for the panel, the social activist hit back saying, “I respect Arunaji. I respect Annaji. But it is wrong to say that I am a chela. I have a mind of my own”. He justified his inclusion in the drafting committee by saying that he was a part of the original team that wrote the first draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill and was therefore well aware of its nuances and intricacies.

Prashant Bhushan also slammed Digvijay Singh for making “false statements” against his father Shanti Bhushan. “A smear campaign appears to have been unleashed against civil society members. I have filed an FIR in connection with the false reports against my father,” he said.

It is being alleged that the former Law Minister allegedly evaded stamp duty while purchasing a property in Allahabad. The Uttar Pradesh authorities are understood to have even sent a notice asking Shanti Bhushan to repay the outstanding amount by April 22. Shanti Bhushan has denied the allegation, saying that according to the deed all stamp duty was paid accurately.

A mysterious CD containing an alleged conversation between Shanti Bhushan and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav regarding fixing of court cases is doing the rounds in Delhi. Prashant Bhushan had termed the CD “fabricated”. 





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