Team Anna members under fresh fire

Last Updated: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 00:47

New Delhi: Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal
and Kiran Bedi were under fresh fire on Sunday over allegations of
financial malfeasance and using influence for personal gains.

Former colleagues Swami Agnivesh and Rajinder Singh found
fault with Kejriwal over depositing donations collected for
Hazare agitation in a trust run by him from which the names of
major team members were missing.

Bedi, meanwhile, came under attack from former Chief
Justice J S Verma for overcharging organisations by inflating
her travel bills. He said claiming money which you have not
spent was "unacceptable" and "more upsetting" was the
justification that she was spending it for a cause.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh also chose Bedi as a
target for attack, saying these were people who were calling
politicians criminals. "Politicians may be criminals but look
inwards too," he said, alleging Bedi misused quota system to
get her daughter a seat in a medical college in Mizoram.

Dismissing Agnivesh`s allegations, Team Anna said the
activist might be levelling such accusations "out of anger" as
he was removed from the team following the surfacing of a
video clip which purportedly showed him asking a person to
deal strongly with Hazare.

Agnivesh, who had yesterday alleged that Kejriwal has
siphoned off over Rs 80 lakh donated by people for the protest
by diverting it to a trust run by him, said Hazare does not
have his name in Public Cause Research Foundation run by him.

"Even Justice Santosh Hegde, who has a clean image, does
not have his name in the trust. So, the main members of the
team were not part of the Trust and the old trust where
Kejriwal and his members were part...the money was deposited
in their name," he alleged.

Coming to Kejriwal`s defence, Team Anna member Manish
Sisodia said all details regarding their accounts will be put
on the PCRF website by this month-end after a special audit.
Bedi alleged that there was a "pattern to defame" Team
Anna members and said "hang some of us if that helps".

Maintaining that they were "transparent" in their
functioning, Sisodia said, "Our accounts till March 31 are
already on the website. We have conducted a special audit for
the last six months and by the month end we are putting the
details on the website."

On Agnivesh, he said, "We have no animosity with Swami
Agnivesh. He could have said something out of anger. It`s not
in our custom to rebut against anything that an elderly says.
He is a good person and we all respect him."

Agnivesh, on the other hand, said, he was not blaming
Kejriwal that he is "deliberately doing so and does not want
transparency. I am also not saying there is some fraud and
corruption in accounts."

Verma said that Bedi has no justification in claiming the
money which she has not spent. "You cannot claim an amount
which you have not spent. You cannot seek reimbursement of
money which you have not spent. You cannot justify it," Verma
told.

Terming as "unacceptable" the claiming of money which was
not actually spent, Verma said, "I am surprised. Why did she,
a good officer, do that? The justification also came as a
surprise.

"It is more upsetting that the act itself...You commit a
wrong and make it worse by a justification which is more
interesting," he said.

Besides Agnivesh, another former Team Anna member
`Waterman` Rajinder Singh also raised the issue urging
Kejriwal to come clean on the controversy regarding donations
to the Anna Hazare movement, saying he could not see
transparency in the matter as Team Anna preaches.

Singh, who quit Team Anna recently following differences,
alleged that Team Anna could have erred in the matter as they
did in plunging into "party politics".

"They preach transparency but in this case, we cannot see
any transparency. They should come clean on this. We are not
super humans and we all make mistakes. But the moment you
realise it, one should correct it and come out clean."

Reacting to the developments, Bedi said, "There is
obviously a pattern to defame every member of Team Anna. It
has been systematic from day one."

"Team Anna is paying a personal cost for raising national
concerns on rampant corruption and voter awareness to ensure
the passing of the bill in Parliament," she said.

According to Bedi, the Hazare movement was of millions
and there was a need for staying united.

"After that hang some of us if that helps. If my saving
for poor by means I followed is wrong I be punished. Same
Lokpal can punish me. Distraction is being manipulated," she
said.

Claiming that Hazare was keen to have a new trust and
include new members, Agnivesh said he wanted to complete the
audit by October 15 and had asked Kejriwal to put on the
website the details of donations received by them in the core
committee meeting.

"India Against Corruption campaign is about transparency.
When we are fighting against corruption, then transparency is
main and important part of it, accountability is second part
of it," he said.

"In the middle there were questions raised on Indian
Vision Foundation and on Kiran Bedi`s flight fare controversy
and all then it has become more important to check the
accounts of old trusts," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 20:39

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