Child rights activist and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi recently claimed in a Delhi court that the trustees of the Mukti Pratishthan Trust (MPT) have “suddenly” and “aggressively” started pursuing a 1997 suit against him and his wife Sumedha, relating to alleged misappropriation of funds, after he was awarded the prestigious prize. He also alleged earlier that the complaint filed against him was a proxy litigation which the plaintiffs had filed in collusion with Swami Agnivesh, founder-chairperson of the Bandhua Mukti Morcha (BMM). However, SWAMI AGNIVESH, in an interview to NAVTAN KUMAR, dismissed these allegations and said it was a fight between the Trust members. Excerpts
Q: Kailash Satyarthi has alleged that you are the proxy behind petitioner Sheo Taj Singh.
A: Where am I in the whole controversy? The petitioner Sheo Taj Singh is a member of the MPT of which Satyarthi is also a member. Of course, Singh is also a member of the Bandhua Mukti Morcha (BMM), but that does not mean he is my proxy. It is a fight between the trust members. I am nowhere in the picture. The fact that Satyarthi is making allegations against me shows his weakness. The case should be fought on the basis of its merit. I want the truth to come out and whoever is guilty should be punished, irrespective of his status.
Q: Satyarthi has also alleged that the case is being pursued aggressively after he got the Nobel Prize.
A: The fact is totally opposite. The case was filed way back in 1997 when there was no talk of Nobel Prize. The facts in the case remain the same and there is no addition (after the Nobel Prize). The case was moving at a snail’s pace and Kailashji should know why there was delay. Sheo Taj wanted a decision fast. If the case is being pursued vigorously, it is because it is being pursued by a judge (Kamini Lau), who is known for her impartiality, integrity and uprightness.
Q: Satyarthi has said that you are out to grab the property at Jantar Mantar.
A: The Jantar Mantar office is in the name of Bandhua Mukti Morcha, whereas the MPT office has shifted to 24 MIG Flat at Sheikh Sarai, Part II. The BMM office is running here for the past 36 years.
Q: Why is there a delay in the appointment of a chartered accountant?
A: The Receiver, Rana Parveen Siddiqui, appointed by the court came to our Jantar Mantar office and then went to MPT’s Sheikh Sarai office from where she seized some documents, but she needed a CA to understand those documents. Both parties were asked to give names of three CAs. Sheo Taj submitted five names on his part. However, the court has not given responsibility to any CA so far. I hope that a CA would be appointed soon so that the final report is prepared.