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Khurshid's list full of fictitious names

Rangey Mistry’s wife says her husband was given his hearing aid hours before the Law Minister’s infamous press conference.

ABHINANDAN MISHRA  Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh | 20th Oct 2012

India's federal minister Salman Khurshid (L) along with his wife Louis Khursid hold up photographs of a camp for disabled people during a press conference in New Delhi on October 14, 2012. AFP

ineet Kumar, Sarvesh Jatav,Sumit, Ram Sharan, Sunder Shukla and Chaman Daraz are on the list of names of disabled persons in Farrukhabad who have "received" help from Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, run by Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise Khurshid.

There is one problem, though. These individuals do not exist. They are fictitious names placed on a list as "proof" that the Trust was doing its philanthropic work.

While travelling from one village to another, this newspaper also had the good fortune of meeting the reclusive Rangey Lal Mistry, who was presented at the infamous press conference by Khurshid. Mistry, who was sitting inside his shop with his 5-year-old grandson, said that he had already stated whatever had happened. When prodded further, he agreed to speak and pose for the camera. "Some men came and said Salman Sahib had called me. I was given a new kurta. I sat inside an AC car. Then I was taken to Delhi with my grandson." His wife, Aakla Begum said that Mistry was given his hearing aid hours before he was taken to Delhi.

According to the trust's list, Sarvesh Jatav, 58 years, son of Kuldip Jatav, of Pithora, has been given a tricycle. This correspondent spoke to a number of residents in the locality, but no one had a clue about who Sarvesh was.

The husband of the present village pradhan (president) of Pithora, Manish Singh Gangwar told the newspaper that there was no disabled individual of such age in the whole village. "I know every individual in this village and I can tell you that no individual of this description exists here," Gangwar said.

Narendra, resident of Dehalia village

"We have been living here for 15 years and have not come across any such individual," a woman who belongs to the Jatav locality said.

However, The Sunday Guardian did find another individual mentioned on the list, Munna Lal's son Sukhdev Jatav, a handicapped person. But he is 17 years old and not 58 as mentioned on the list. "I had gone to the camp held by the trust in 2010 but I was turned back, I never got any help," Sukhdev Jatav said.

According to the trust’s list, Sarvesh Jatav, 58 years, son of Kuldip Jatav, of Pithora, has been given a tricycle. This correspondent spoke to a number of residents in the locality, but no one had a clue about who Sarvesh was.

This newspaper met another handicapped boy, Narendra Singh, a resident of the neighbouring Dalhia village, who said that despite visiting the camp held in 2009 twice, he was not given any help: "I went to the camp organised by Salman Khurshid twice with my father, we were turned away both times."

Aakla Begum, wife of Rangey Mistry

Pithora is Salman Khurshid's native village and a huge red ancestral bungalow still reminds the locals of the "power" that Khurshid wields here. While clicking pictures of the house this correspondent noticed how he was being observed by a heavily built man resting on his bike. We were later told that he was a loyal supporter of Khurshid and we were annoying him with our probe.

Next, this newspaper went to Jhabbupur village in search of Sumit, the son of Sukhdev, who was given a tricycle as per the records. In spite of spending more than an hour in the village, we could not find the existence of any such individual.

"There is no boy by the name of Sumit in our village who is crippled," asserted Bhajan Lal, the former pradhan of Jhabopur.

This was confirmed by Kanhaiyalal, who owns a small grocery shop in the village: "Maybe he is from some other place. My shop is at the entrance of the village and I know each and every individual here."

While conducting this "investigation", we came across some angry supporters of "Salman Sahab" who claimed that this reporter was out of his mind and was casting aspersions on the intentions of Khurshid. "You people know nothing about what Salman Sahab has done for Farrukhabad and its residents. Write as much you want to but nothing will happen to him," said Shahdiyar Khan, who claimed that he was working with a local school. When questioned about the non-existence of the individuals who were given tricyles, he mockingly suggested that we should go to Lucknow and Allahabad, for the disabled might have shifted there.

Vivek Sharma, a resident of Bajaria Ramlal

Another individual who supposedly got a tricycle was 13-year-old Ram Sharan, a resident of Bajaria Ramlal. But once again, we failed to find any such person matching that description after searching every nook and cranny of Bajaria. During the search, we came across an infuriated Vivek Sharma, a 34-year-old man. He said that the address we were looking for was his residence but there was no disabled in his house and Ram Sharan was the name of his grandfather, who died many years ago. "Hamare yahan koi viklang nahee hai (We do not have any handicapped here)," said Sharma, who owns a gun shop. This was confirmed by Manoj Verma, a relative of Vivek, who was a former member of the ward.

The other fictitious names on the list were Sanjay Verma, son of Amar Singh, resident of Pachpokra village; Amir Khan, son of Anwar Khan, resident of Khatakpura; Alim Khan, son of Mukim Khan, resident of Khatakpura; Nishar son of Shahrukh, resident of Nalafidayeen.

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