London: Law Minister Salman Khurshid has said he will take legal action against activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal and Hindi TV channel Aaj Tak for alleging that an NGO headed by him and run by his wife siphoned off lakhs of money meant for physically challenged people in his home state of Uttar Pradesh.
Here's the full transcript of his interview to NDTV in London.
Salman Khurshid: By responding to them, I think what they have done is worse than behaving like gutter snipes and the only answer they deserve is suitable suit filed in court and that will be done both criminal and civil proceeding.
NDTV: So are you categorically denying that this money was siphoned off, was there was any sort of...
Salman Khurshid: Do you think I am mad? Do you really think that I am mad that I would siphon-off money, where we have been working for 15 years giving people tricycles, giving people different implements, and this is my constituency you don't cheat on people of your constituency. I personally think that either the editors of Aaj Tak has a very very perverse agenda or they have been taken for one hell of a ride, whatever it may be they will have to account for it. I don't give up a fight of this kind, I was waiting for a fight of this kind and I think we will teach them a message.
NDTV: But Mr Kejriwal has demanded your resignation and demanded that your wife should resign as well. How do you respond to that?
Salman Khurshid: Mr Kejriwal should first explain what he has been doing all his life. He should first explain where he gets his money from, how he lives. He should tell us how he travels, he should tell us what he has done with the funds that have come, he should tell us why his wife is in Delhi for such a long time. I don't think that Mr Kejriwal deserves a reply from anybody but we will take care of Mr Kejriwal in due course of time.
NDTV: About the whole atmosphere of anti-corruption movement in India and you know it's become very vocal and in many ways it's become about attacking people in power like you. How do you respond to that?
Salman Khurshid: I think that we should not descend to their language, we should not descend to their conduct and behavior and certainly not to their culture. We have a job to do and we will do our job. Anybody is welcome to ask any questions. We believe in transparency, individually as a group, as a government, and as a party and anybody can ask for anything and I think people in glass houses should not throw stones and somebody who asks for transparency should be willing to exhibit transparency in their own behaviour as well.
NDTV: So are all of these charges complete rubbish?
Salman Khurshid: I think rubbish is a word which doesn't reflect even minutely what I can say in response but there is no problem we will get it all in court.
NDTV: Who's done the signatures and all of that?
Salman Khurshid: Of course there are documents with signature but these are not things that are hidden, they are all public documents. So we will get those public documents in the court and let the court decide where is the problem, you can't be deciding cases on channels and asking somebody that you are accused and come and defend yourself and then pass judgment there. There are courts in the country that decide these matter and the courts in the country will decide.
NDTV: Are you taking Aaj Tak to court?
Salman Khurshid: Aaj Tak has already got a notice and they will be already in court before we get back to India.