Sacked minister accuses Kejriwal of graft; BJP, Congress gun for him

World Sunday 07/May/2017 19:46 PM
By: Times News Service
Sacked minister accuses Kejriwal of graft; BJP, Congress gun for him

New Delhi: Struggling to steady itself after the shock defeat in municipal elections, Delhi's ruling AAP was on Sunday hit by a scandal with a top party leader accusing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of accepting Rs20 million from a minister.
Kapil Mishra, who was on Saturday sacked as minister, alleged he was an "eyewitness" to Health and Public Works Department minister Satyendar Jain handing over Rs20 million to Kejriwal. Mishra also claimed Jain had told him in private conversation that he had "settled" a Rs50 million land deal in favour of a relative of the chief minister.
The bombshell prompted calls from the BJP and Congress for Kejriwal's ouster, but AAP stood solidly behind its leader, insisting there was no merit in the allegation and that "even his (Kejriwal's) enemies will not believe it". Mishra, who was Delhi's water resources minister before being sacked, had sided with another top leader Kumar Vishwas in his fight with Kejriwal before the two called truce. "I saw with my own eyes Satyendar Jain giving Rs20 cmillion cash to Arvind Kejriwal at his residence. When I asked Kejriwal, he said such things happen in politics and it will be revealed later," Mishra told reporters after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
"Jain personally told me that he had settled a land deal worth Rs500 million of Kejriwal's relative. When I told Kejriwal, he said that it was a lie and asked me to have faith in him," Mishra said. Though Kejriwal did not respond to the allegations, his deputy Manish Sisodia and even Kumar Vishwas rubbished it.
"The allegations are absurd and do not merit a response. He was sacked due to poor performance," Sisodia told reporters. Vishwas, who had criticised Kejriwal following the party's dismal performance in the MCD elections, and even threatened to quit party after he was attacked by AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, came out in support of Kejriwal.
"We can disagree, fight or be disappointed with each other...I know Arvind for 12 years and I can say I cannot believe it, even his enemies won't," Vishwas said. "I feel sad about the allegations. Be it about the party's internal talks, discrepancies in ticket distribution, loopholes in political agenda... but it is wrong to level such allegations publicly," Vishwas, to whom Mishra is considered close, said.
The city unit of BJP demanded immediate resignation of Kejriwal and a probe by multiple agencies including CBI, Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate.
Delhi BJP chief met Lt Governor Anil Baijal and requested him to explore the possibility of "immediately dismissing" the Kejriwal government. "Sir, we request you to please examine the possibility of immediately dismissing the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministerial colleague Satyendar Jain under the constitutional provisions and report entire matter to the President of India," he said in his letter addressed to LG. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also demanded the resignation of Kejriwal, claiming the AAP had "lost its anti- corruption plank".
"Kejriwal has no moral right to continue as chief minister in the wake of the allegations by Mishra. He should step down," Maken told a press conference here.
"The Aam Admi Party (AAP) which was formed on anti-corruption plank has lost it in the wake of Mishra's allegations against the chief minister, and the Shungulu Committee report that has put his government in the dock for various irregularities," he said.
Six ministers of the AAP government, out of a total of seven, who had taken oath to fight against corruption on February 14, 2015 (when the government was formed) have been removed so far. It explains that the party has lost its basic premise of being against corruption, he said.
"AAP was formed on three basic premises of fight against corruption, internal democracy and Lokpal. They have lost all these premises," he said. Social activist Anna Hazare said he was pained at seeing his former colleague in the anti-corruption campaign facing allegations of corruption. "It is painful for me to see what is going on in the Delhi government. It is disheartening to see my former colleague in anti-corruption fight Kejriwal facing the charge of accepting money," Hazare told reporters at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said the allegations needed to be probed by Central Bureau of Investigation under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, a comrade-in-arms of Kejriwal in the India Against Corruption movement, also sought an independent probe. Without naming anyone, Bedi in her twitter handle said that the "allegation of corruption made by a Minister claiming to be an eyewitness against his own Chief Minister needs an independent investigation forthwith.
Mishra, on his part, rejected suggestions that was levelling allegations against Kejriwal because he was sacked as a minister. "I had yesterday written to the ACB about corruption in the government and also raised the issue with Arvind Kejriwal. I also told him I will raise these issues with Lt Governor. I was sacked ten hours after that," Mishra said.
For a long time, talk about corruption involving funding, Punjab elections and Delhi government have been going on, he said. "I saw some of it with my own eyes but I believed in Kejriwal and felt no one can corrupt him. The cases of money laundering, black money and appointment of daughter of a minister (Jain), luxury bus scheme, CNG fitness test scam.... all these were in his knowledge and I always believed he will take action," he said. He asserted that he will fight "corruption" while remaining in the AAP and no one can throw him out from the party.
"AAP is my party, no one can throw me out of the party. We will sweep corruption away from the party and I have come here (Rajghat) to begin this work," he said.