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Bhushans` resignation ruled out, Hegde has a rethink

Last Updated: Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 21:17

New Delhi/Bangalore: Unfazed by
controversies surrounding the Bhushans, civil society
activists today rejected demands for their resignation from
the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill but one of its
members Justice Santosh Hegde said he is thinking of resigning
from it.

The demand for the resignation of lawyer Shanti Bhushan
and his son Prashant grew today following a CFSL report that a
CD allegedly involving the senior Bhushan was not not tampered

While the Bhushans kept mum, activists Arvind Kejriwal
and Kiran Bedi ruled out their resignation because of the
"malicious campaign" against them.

They told a press conference in Delhi that the civil
society members were together and the "entire malicious"
campaign launched by some "corrupt elements in and out of
government" was aimed at derailing the drafting of a strong
Lokpal Bill.

"There is no question of anybody resigning from the
joint committee. No one will resign. We are at a historic
juncture where we are going to have a strong anti-corruption
law. We are not the ones who run away from battle zones."

However, upset over the "vilification campaign",
Justice Hegde, who is also Lokayukta in Karnataka, said in
Bangalore that he was thinking of resigning but he would
consult his colleagues in the anti-corruption movement in
Delhi on Saturday and take a decision.

He was angry that Congress General Secretary Digvijay
Singh had attacked him yesterday that he was protecting
Karnataka Chief Minister from corruption charges.

"This is absolutely false. This is contrary to
facts. I am not not a politician. I cannot fight this type
of battle," he said adding the former Madhya Pradesh Chief
Minister`s remarks were "hurting" at a time when his party
leader Sonia Gandhi had made it clear she does not not support
any smear campaign.

"No one has fought the Karnataka Chief Minister as I
had done, not even the Congress in the state. People here
know it," he said.

Hegde said he would discuss with his colleagues in the
civil society movement including Anna Hazare and take a
decision whether to continue in the joint drafting committee.

Acting on a complaint, the Delhi police had referred a
to the Central Forensic Laboratory (CFSL) a CD purported to
have conversations between Shanti Bhushan, Mulayam Singh Yadav
and Amar Singh in which a suggestion is being made about
fixing a judge.

The CFSL has found that the CD was not not doctored as
"the recorded conversation is in continuity and no abrupt
change in speech signal detected".

This contradicted a report obtained by Prashant
Bhushan from a private lab in Hyderabad the CD was tampered

Kejriwal claimed the plot allotment to the senior
Bhushan and his son Jayant were in order and there was neither
discretionary quota not some favours were done to them and
rejected the government forensic laboratory report on the CD
containing purported conversations between Shanti Bhushan and
politicial leaders Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh.
He and Bedi said the civil society members were
open to any kind of "independent probe" and would write to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice of India SK
Kapadia seeking such an action. "Let there be an enquiry about
all of us, about our NGOs, our accounts," Kejriwal said.
On the inclusion of a Opposition member in the panel,
Bedi said they had asked the government to include Leader of
Opposition in the panel. "We suggested that. The government
wanted it to be a government panel. We offered and they
thought otherwise," she said.
Rejecting the government forensic lab report on the CD
containing purported conversations between Shanti Bhushan and
politicial leaders Yadav and Amar Singh about fixing a judge,
Kejriwal said, "we would have been surprised if the report by
the government forensic laboratory was something else".
Kejriwal He said everybody knew about the "vested
interests" who wanted to derail the proceedings of the joint
committee and added, "government elements may also be
involved" in the the making of the controversial CD.
Bhushans had alleged that the CD contained "multiple
gaps and signs ofelectronic editing at very very critical
Asked whether he suspected the role of government in
the circulation of a CD, Kejriwal said he was not going to
level allegations against anybody. "But there are some corrupt
elements in and out of the government who are afraid of a
strong anti-corruption law," he said.
"Do you think that we will allow Shanti Bhushan to
dilute the bill (by being the member of the committee)," he
Bedi said the Bhushans were in the panel not for their
individual cause but national cause. "They are here for their
legal expertise. The country needs their expertise," he said.
Kejriwal said another panel member Santosh Hegde will
be coming to Delhi on Saturday and they will have a

First Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 21:17

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