Cong, SP question allotment of farmhouses to Bhushans

New Delhi: A fresh controversy involving anti-corruption campaigner Shanti Bhushan broke out on Wednesday over the allotment of priced farmhouse plots to him and his son Jayant in nearby Noida and demands have cropped for the lawyer’s resignation from the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.

Congress and Samajwadi Party questioned the allotment of farmhouses to Bhushans and suggested that Shanti Bhushan should withdraw himself from the Joint Committee to draft Lokpal Bill.The controversy started after reports were published on Wednesday that the Bhushans has been allotted 10,000 sq metre plots valued at Rs 3.5 crore each to them by the U.P. government in 2009.

Reacting to the controversy Shanti Bhushan alleged that some “corrupt, important” politicians were behind the allegations as it will be impossible for them to draft a “soft” Lokpal Bill if he was present in the drafting committee, which he co-chairs.

He said he has not sought any preferential treatment or any discretionary quota for getting land allotted to him and Jayanth, also a lawyer.

“Public applications were invited…It is clear that it is part of a campaign by some corrupt important politicians that if I remain on the joint committee, it will not be possible for them to draft a soft law”.“(If I am there) they will be compelled to draft a really tough law against corruption. Probably those politicians are feeling jittery. The real intention seems to be to derail the process (of drafting the Lokpal Bill),” he said.

The fresh allegations came days after the eminent lawyer was embroiled in another controversy when a “fake” CD surfaced in which he was said to be having conversations with political leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh over fixing a case. He had denied the allegations.

“We welcome the efforts of Anna Hazare on Lokpal Bill but they (Bhushans) and their family members will have to answer the questions that are being raised…This raises doubts in the mind of common people,” Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters here.

“If a doubt creeps once in the mind of people that a particular person does not have a very clean life, such persons should voluntarily withdraw from this process of drafting Lokpal Bill,” she said.

She said, “There is no dearth of knowledgeable and talented lawyers as well as patriots in the country and hence any other person can be made a member (of the committee).”

National spokesperson of Samajwadi Party Mohan Singh said that when Shanti Bhushan himself admitted that he had heard that bribes passed hands for these allotments “then why did he accept the plots.”

“Not only his son but even Shanti Bhushan was allotted plot. According to him there was no draw for this allotment and it was done directly. He himself says that bribes passed hands for it…When the bribe was given as per confession, why did he accept such a plot,” Mr. Singh asked.