Non-Bailable Warrant Against Congress Leader Salman Khurshid’s Wife

Salman Khurshid and his wife denied allegations of corruption. Photo: PTI / BBC
Salman Khurshid and his wife denied allegations of corruption. Photo: PTI / BBC

As Khurshids will claim that it is a politically motivated case, there is a likelihood that it will be hushed up under one pretext or another.

By Rakesh Raman

A local court in Farrukhabad (Uttar Pradesh, UP) has issued a non-bailable warrant against Louise Khurshid, wife of former India minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid.

The case pertains to misappropriation of over Rs. 71 lakh (Rs. 7.1 million) received in central grants by Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust run by Ms Khurshid.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Praveen Kumar Tyagi issued the non-bailable warrant against Ms Khurshid and Trust secretary Athar Farooqui and fixed August 16 as the next date for hearing.

A non-bailable warrant is an order of arrest and the accused can be sent to jail after the issuance of this warrant. The warrant is required when the order of conviction is passed and the accused is not in custody.

In March 2010, according to reports, the Trust had received a grant of Rs. 71.50 lakh from the Central government for the distribution of wheelchairs, tricycles and hearing aids among physically challenged persons in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Later, allegations of corruption and forgery were levelled against the Trust’s office-bearers in 2012 when Salman Khurshid was a minister in the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Congress. However, the Khurshids had denied any wrongdoing.

BBC had reported in 2012 that the authorities in India had started an investigation into allegations that Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife embezzled state funds allotted to a Trust they run to help disabled people.

The BBC report added that teams from the Uttar Pradesh Economic Offences Wing (EOW) visited offices of the charity to verify documents and anti-corruption activists had demanded Mr Khurshid’s resignation. But he said the charges cannot be proved. So, no action was taken because the Congress government was in power.

As there was rampant corruption in the Congress government, corruption became the major factor in the 2014 Lok Sabha election that Congress lost. In 2014, Narendra Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the Prime Minister (PM) of India.

Thus, the action against the Khurshids gained momentum after 2014. With an order of April 2016, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of the Government of India blacklisted the Dr. Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.

Later, in June 2017, the EOW started the probe, as an FIR (first information report) was registered against Louise Khurshid and Athar Farooqui in Kaimganj police station in UP. Louise Khurshid was the project director of the Trust. The charge sheet in the case was filed on December 30, 2019.

It was alleged that the signatures of senior officials of Uttar Pradesh were forged to receive grants from the Union government for the welfare of the disabled and bills for the sanctioned amount were not submitted by the Trust.

Although Louise Khurshid had verified that the money was spent on the welfare of the disabled and children, the activities existed only on paper.

The timing of the warrant against Ms Khurshid is important because Congress has intensified its attack against the Modi government. 

These days, Congress is demanding Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probes into alleged corruption in the Rafale deal and the Pegasus spying scandal in which the Modi government is allegedly involved.

As Khurshids will claim that it is a politically motivated case, there is a likelihood that it will be hushed up under one pretext or another.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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