Bhushans` resignation ruled out, Hegde has a rethink
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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 with.

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 with.

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 places". 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 said. 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 meeting. PTI

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

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