A day after the Tata Social Welfare Trust clarified that it did not donate any money to Arvind Kejriwal's Public Cause Research Foundation for any political activities, Narayan Murthy too has clarified that no funds were donated to Kejriwal's Foundation.

In a statement, Murthy has said, “Arvind Kejriwal approached me in 2008 to donate money to raise awareness about the Right To Information (RTI) act by instituting awards to recognise the contribution of public information officers, public information commissioners, non governmental organisations and citizens.”

“I agreed to give Rs 25 lakh a year for five years and requested the Tatas to contribute an equal sum which the Tata Social Welfare Trust was kind enough to agree. I sent Rs 25 lakh for the years for 2008 and 2009 and Rs 37 lakh for 2010 (the additional funds of Rs 12 lakh were required for giving extra awards, for honouring the families of RTI activists who were murdered, and the travel costs of the honorees),” he added.

Another Rs 25 lakh for the year 2011 was handed out by Murthy. “However,” he added in the statement, “Kejriwal wrote to me in May 2011, that the secretariat of the Foundation was busy in drafting a Jan Lokpal Bill and that they would not be able to have the awards in 2011. He also asked me whether it was OK to use this amount of Rs 25 lakh towards the secretarial expenses of the Jan Lokpal Bill effort.”

Stating that as one who believed that the country needed a moderate but effective Lokpal Bill, “I agreed to his request,” said Murthy.

However, when Kejriwal again approached Murthy in September 2012, “asking for financial assistance, I declined. Hence, I have not financially supported Kejriwal’s political activities,” clarified Murthy.

amritanair.ghaswalla@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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