The co-chairperson of the joint drafting committee for the Jan Lokpal Bill, Mr Shanti Bhushan, on Saturday said the Gandhi family “does not have any hand behind the controversial CD” but “big corporates are behind” circulating the CD.
Mr Bhushan at this juncture is embroiled in a CD controversy wherein he allegedly tells SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav that his son, Mr Prahsant Bhushan, “can settle” a particular case for him. Mr Amar Singh is allegedly the mediator.
While earlier Mr Bhushan had told this newspaper that he had “never met Amar Singh in his life”, speaking exclusively to this newspaper he qualified his statement, claiming he had spoken to Mr Amar Singh on the phone when the latter had sought his advice regarding the extension of his seat in the Rajya Sabha. Mr Bhushan, however, claimed the “contents of the CD are defamatory in nature and have been fabricated to defame me”. Asked whether the voice on the tape was his, he retorted angrily: “It is a case of forgery and the talk has been spliced.” His son Prashant, a member of the drafting committee, has, however, been quoted as stating that “one of the voices could be his (Mr Shanti Bhushan)” and that “the government could well be behind this campaign to smear both father and son”.
Shanti Bhushan played a stellar role in the anti-corruption agitation launched n Turn to Page 3
by Gandhian Anna Hazare which forced the government to concede to the demands of civil society, apart from playing a key role in the committee set up to draft the Lokpal Bill.
Meanwhile, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, speaking in Indore, pointed fingers at the four-day fast-unto-death campaign against corruption by Anna Hazare. He questioned the “huge” funding for Anna Hazare’s hungerstrike in Delhi and also sought to know whether politicians are uncivilised and cannot be members of civil society.
“When we demanded that it should be brought out how much money was spent organising Hazare’s hungerstrike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, and who helped it financially, we were told that `82 lakhs was raised from the corporate sector. If civil society people spent `50 lakhs for a four-day agitation at Jantar Mantar, then why do they get after politicians, telling them to meet the expenditure for contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections within a limit,” Mr Singh asked.
Mr Singh said the job of finalising a draft Lokpal Bill cannot be left to only a few members of civil society and suggested the bill should also include the corporate sector and NGOs. Throwing a challenge at the Hazare-led civil society members, the Congress leader said: “If Anna Hazare and his associates think that whatever they decide in the name of civil society is sacrosanct, it is not acceptable.” He added: “I used to touch his (Hazare’s) feet and will do so in future too. But we will not accept his view that all politicians and voters are dishonest.” Asian Age