Fresh allegations against Bhushans, Sonia distances from smear campaign(Intro Roundup)April 20th, 2011 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The controversies dogging the civil society representatives in the Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee continued to rage Wednesday with fresh allegations of graft surfacing against committee co-chair Shanti Bhushan. But Bhushan fought back, demanding a public apology from Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and dismissing as “malicious” a report that he and his son Jayant had got land from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s discretionary quota.
The former law minister and his family have been in the proverbial eye of the storm since he was appointed to the 10-member committee to draft a more stringent Lokpal (ombudsman) Bill to fight corruption. His lawyer son Prashant is also member of the panel. On Wednesday, Shanti Bhushan’s other son Jayant also found himself in the headlines.
Meanwhile, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said in a letter to Anna Hazare, whose five-day fast-unto-death resulted in the joint drafting committee being set up, that she doesn’t “support nor encourage the politics of smear campaign” launched against civil rights activists who are part of the joint panel.
Hazare had written to Sonia complaining against party general secretary Digvijay Singh without mentioning his name.
L’affaire Bhushan also saw expelled Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Amar Singh as well as Digvijay Singh take on the family.
In another development, Shanti Bhushan served a legal notice on Digvijay Singh demanding a public apology for alleging that he had undervalued a property in Allahabad and not paid adequate stamp duty on it. But the Congress leader remained unmoved.
Reacting to a newspaper report that he and his son Jayant had taken two plots in Noida at below-market rates, Shanti Bhushan said: “To suggest that the allotment has been obtained from any discretionary quota is totally false and misleading.”
Giving procedural details of the allotment, Bhushan said: “So far, possession has not been delivered, nor the lease deal executed. It is only after the plot has been made approachable by construction of roads that possession would be delivered and lease executed.”
Bhushan said if there had been any arbitrariness, the allotments should be cancelled.
Refuting the allegation of favours from Mayawati, Bhushan said: “Both myself and my son Jayant have been fighting cases against Mayawati in courts and the question of obtaining favours from her or her government does not arise at all.
Shanti Bhushan has been in the news for the circulation of a CD, which has a man purportedly meant to be the veteran lawyer telling SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh that a judge could be “fixed” for Rs.4 crore.
Meanwhile, Amar Singh addressed the press Wednesday to rebut Shanti Bhushan’s comment that he (lawyer) had not been in touch with him.
“Shanti Bhushan does not remember many things because of his age.” He said the SP had chartered an aircraft for the Supreme Court counsel to plead a case for the party in Lucknow.
There were those who came out in support of them.
Vikas Singh, the lawyer who has challenged the allotment of the Noida land in the Allahabad High Court, said his petition did not mention the Bhushans at all.
Defending the Bhushans, activist and former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi said the Bhushan family had got land through fair means.
Swami Agnivesh , another activist, alleged that there was a motivated campaign by vested interests to defame the civil liberty leaders.
“As allegations swirled around the Bhushans, the Congress distanced itself from its Uttar Pradesh chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who asked Shanti Bhushan to step down as co-chair of the committee.
“The Congress will not comment on the matter, it is for them (Bhushans) to answer and clarify whatever charges have been made against them,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.
In his legal notice to Digvijay Singh, a copy of which has been sent to Sonia Gandhi, Shanti Bhushan sought an apology from him.
But Singh said that he has not said anything that could have offended Bhushan.
“I would like to see or hear what I have said which has offended them,” Digvijay Singh told NDTV.
The senior Congress leader also said he is yet to receive the notice.
- Bhushans sink deeper into controversy but fight back (Roundup) - Apr 20, 2011
- I will answer Bhushan's notice in court: Digvijay Singh - Apr 21, 2011
- Congress refuses to back Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Bhushans - Apr 20, 2011
- Land not allotted through discretionary quota, say Bhushans (Lead) - Apr 20, 2011
- Bhushans must clarify themselves on CD row: Digvijay Singh - Apr 21, 2011
- I will answer Bhushan's notice in court: Digvijay (Lead) - Apr 21, 2011
- Bhushans should resign from Lokpal panel: Amar Singh (Lead) - Apr 21, 2011
- Bhushans said Noida land allotted through 'process' - Apr 20, 2011
- Amar Singh hits out at Bhushans - Apr 20, 2011
- Controversy casts shadow on first Lokpal panel meet - Apr 16, 2011
- Amidst mud-slinging, Lokpal joint committee meets Saturday (Roundup) - Apr 16, 2011
- CD controversy rages, Bhushans to move apex court (Roundup) - Apr 18, 2011
- Graft shadow over Lokpal panel; Civil society backs Bhushans (Intro Roundup) - Apr 22, 2011
- Congress, SP seeks explanation over land allotted to Bhushans in Noida - Apr 20, 2011
- Amar Singh denies doctoring CD - Apr 18, 2011
Tags: amar singh, anna hazare, bhushan, civil rights activists, congress chief, congress leader, digvijay singh, discretionary quota, drafting committee, jayant, law minister, lawyer son, member committee, newspaper report, prashant, procedural details, public apology, smear campaign, society representatives, sonia gandhi