`Kejriwal offered Anna Hazare around Rs 2 crore`

India Against Corruption member Arvind Kejriwal had offered social activist Anna Hazare unspent funds of IAC lying with his NGO, a report said.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: India Against Corruption member Arvind Kejriwal had offered social activist Anna Hazare unspent funds of IAC lying with his NGO, a report said on Sunday.

According to a newspaper, Kejriwal had gone to Ralegan Siddhi “a few months ago” with a cheque of “around Rs 2 crore” lying with Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) and requested the veteran social crusader, Anna Hazare, to accept it.

The Indian Express quoted sources close to Hazare in his village Ralegan Siddhi as saying that this episode took place some months before Anna split with Kejriwal.

“Arvindji had brought a cheque of an amount around Rs 2 crore. That was all the IAC money that PCRF had in its account then. This was the time when formation of a political party had become a bone of contention in the core team. Arvindji offered the cheque to Annaji. However, Annaji refused, and Arvindji returned to Delhi with the cheque,” a close aide of Hazare was quoted as saying.

Despite strong demands from his supporters, Anna Hazare decided not to ask Kejriwal to return money collected during the anti-corruption agitations.

During a meeting soon after the group split, Hazare was urged by volunteers that they should ask Kejriwal-led Public Cause Research Foundation to return the money but the activist told them that he had already refused to take it.

Sources, who attended the meeting, claimed that Hazare told the meeting that Kejriwal offered to return money but he asked him to keep it.

The volunteers were of the view that they would need money to organise the movement but Hazare felt that they have to built a new movement and the issue of money should not be a point of fight, they said.

Hazare parted ways with Kejriwal-led group on September 19 over the issue of the anti-corruption movement taking a plunge into politics. The discussion on the issue came up at a meeting, which was also attended by Kiran Bedi, held at Maharashtra Sadan the next day.

Kejriwal had offered a cheque more than once to Hazare after differences erupted over the issue of forming a political party, the sources said.

They said Hazare was of the view that they should try to get a copy of the volunteer`s list. "They can give us a copy and keep one with them. What is the harm in it?" Hazare was quoted as saying.

India Against Corruption led by Kejriwal refused to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Hazare`s close aide Suresh Pathare on Saturday resigned from his office citing personnel reasons.

"I think I will not be able to devote full time to the movement. But I will work in the capacity of a volunteer as Anna would wish," he said.

When asked whether he will join the political party to be formed by Kejriwal, he answered in the negative. The sources claimed that villagers have reservations about Pathare and this led to his resignation.

(With Agency inputs)