Plot to malign me and Arvind Kejriwal, says Anna Hazare

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare today said he never suspected the bona fides of Arvind Kejriwal and that the purported video showing him criticising Kejriwal is a conspiracy to malign both himself and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader.

Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare''There is a conspiracy to malign both me and Arvind,'' Hazare said, adding he has never called Kejriwal ''corrupt''.

Hazare had on Tuesday said that he never suspected Arvind Kejriwal's honesty and sincerity but had raised some questions regarding the funds raised during his Jan Lokpal agitation.

Anna Hazare had written a letter to the AAP leader over alleged misuse of funds collected during the Jan Lokpal agitation and Kejriwal, in turn, had disclosed the letter and his answers to public and media before replying to him. By raking up that issue now someone is trying to create a divide between the two, Hazare said.

Hazare said he only wanted a clarification from Kejriwal on funds collected by the India Against Corruption (IAC).

''I never said Kejriwal is corrupt,'' Hazare said, adding there was no rift with Kejriwal and that he would write to him again.

Hazare said he was upset that his name was used in connection with SIM cards used to collect funds for IAC.

Hazare also called on people to vote for a candidate with character and not to look at parties.

''Goondas and corrupt people should not be sent to Parliament,'' he added.

Meanwhile, a hurt Arvind Kejriwal today said he had clarified on the questions raised by his mentor Anna Hazare about the use of Lokpal campaign funds and that he is ready for any public scrutiny on this matter.

"Yes, I am deeply hurt. I am very sad to see the video. Since these allegations have been made by Anna Hazare, who I regard as my manor, I want an open probe into this case," he told media persons.

''We have said we are open to any kind of probe,'' Kejriwal said. ''If there is corruption of even Rs5, I will not contest the elections,'' he added.

The AAP leader said the video controversy is a smear campaign by the Congress and the BJP. "We have challenged Robert Vadra, we have challenged Mukesh Ambani, we have exposed Nitin Gadkari. They have all united now. It's a Congress-BJP conspiracy. The two parties are trying to create differences between us and Anna ji."

On the accusations of misusing Anna Hazare's name for his poll campaign, Kejriwal said, "We have only said we will pass Anna's Lokpal Bill if we are elected. We have never used Anna's name. If this has hurt him, we will never use his name again."

"I have always maintained this is not Anna's party. Anna is not associated with it. We have told people during canvassing that we will pass Anna's Jan Lokpal, as it is known," Kejriwal added.