`Bhushans strongest link in anti corruption fight`

Activist Swami Agnivesh said controversies should not affect the Lokpal Bill drafting committee.

New Delhi: Amid series of allegations
against eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant,
activist Swami Agnivesh said the two were the "strongest link"
in the fight against corruption and the controversies should
not be allowed to affect the Lokpal Bill drafting committee.

"They are the strongest link because when we started
this whole process nearly eight months ago, Shanti Bhushan and
Prashant Bhushan came forward to draft the bill together with
(Karnataka Lokayukta) Justice N Santosh Hegde and (RTI
activist) Arvind Kejriwal," he said.

According to Agnivesh, the Bhushans` legal acumen has
served the movement well.

Asked about the duo`s moral positioning vis-a-vis
the controversies dogging them, he said the issues relate to
"years and years back like the 1966 land they purchased in
Allahabad."

"How does it concern today? You just can`t dig out
things and place them and time them just on the eve of the
first meeting (of the Joint Drafting Committee)," Agnivesh
told `Devil`s Advocate` programme.

Refusing to term it as a "reprieve", Agnivesh said the
Committee should be allowed to complete its task of drafting
the Lokpal Bill by June 30 with Bhushans on board "and then
everybody is free to hunt them (Bhushans), find whatsoever is
wrong with them, punish them if they are guilty...don`t relate
the cases to the Committee".

To a poser on whether the two would have been included
in the Committee had the allegations surfaced before Anna
Hazare sat on a hunger strike, he said, "Had we known this six
months ago, there could have been discussions about it
(Bhushans` inclusion)."

Asked whether it was too late now, he said "now it is
irrelevant".

On Prashant Bhushan`s allegation that expelled SP
leader Amar Singh was behind the controversial CD purportedly
containing conversation between senior Bhushan, Singh and
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Agnivesh said Prashant was in possession
of "circumstantial evidences" to back his claim.

"He will make public whenever the occasion arises," he
said, adding that the CD was "very shady" without an author
who refuses to come out in open as he was a "coward".

PTI

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