x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Embezzlement amount too small, says minister

A high-ranking Indian politician has dismissed claims that a colleague embezzled 7.1 million rupees (Dh490,000), saying the sum was too small to be taken seriously.

NEW DELHI // A high-ranking Indian politician has dismissed claims that a colleague embezzled 7.1 million rupees (Dh490,000), saying the sum was too small to be taken seriously.

Beni Prasad Verma, the steel minister, spoke out in defence of the law minister, Salman Khurshid, who has been accused of siphoning off government money allotted to a trust he heads that helps disabled people.

"I believe Salman Khurshid could not have embezzled 71 lakh [7.1m]. It is a very small amount for a central minister," Mr Verma told the Times of India newspaper yesterday. "I would have taken it seriously if the amount was 71 crore [710m]."

The newspaper ran an editorial criticising Mr Verma's statement as "grossly ill-timed and ill-phrased". Mr Verma later tried to backtrack, saying that corruption on any scale was wrong.