‘Kejriwal took Rs 2 crore’: BJP wants Delhi CM’s ouster after Kapil Mishra’s graft charge
The accusation is the latest in a string of troubles that has engulfed the ruling AAP, after its crushing defeat in the city’s April civic elections and the assembly polls in Punjab and Goa.delhi Updated: May 08, 2017 08:15 IST
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, who rose from being an anti-corruption crusader to Delhi chief minister, became the target of a graft charge on Sunday as his former water minister, Kapil Mishra, accused him of accepting Rs 2 crore from a cabinet colleague.
The accusation is the latest in a string of troubles that has engulfed the ruling AAP, after its crushing defeat in the city’s April civic elections and the assembly polls in Punjab and Goa.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia dismissed the charges against Kejriwal, who rode to power two years ago vowing to stamp out corruption.
Mishra, who was sacked on Saturday night apparently for mismanagement in water supply, cast aspersions on the integrity of the chief minister, saying a conspiracy was hatched against him because of the alleged Rs 400-crore water tanker scandal in the Delhi government.
He said he saw Kejriwal take Rs 2 crore from health minister Satyendra Jain and demanded to know what the money was for.
“When I asked Kejriwal what is this for, he refused to answer and said such things happen in politics and he will explain to me later,” he said.
“This is not a political allegation. These are details of whatever I have seen happening in front on my eyes at the CM’s house.”
Also, Mishra alleged that Jain had told him that he had settled a land deal for a Kejriwal relative at Rs 50 crore. “When I asked Kejriwal about it, he said this is false and I should trust him,” he said.
The alleged tanker scam dates back to 2012 when the Congress ruled the city, and involves irregularities in hiring stainless steel water tanks from private contractors.
An inquiry committee under Mishra was formed after the AAP came to power and he apparently said to Kejriwal that the panel’s report could spell trouble to people in the AAP government as well.
Mishra alleged on Sunday that Kejriwal was protecting corrupt AAP leaders and supporters by not making the report public.
The allegations bolstered swirling speculation about a raging infighting within the AAP, as Kejriwal had just about managed last week to douse an internal fire after legislator Amanatullah Khan accused senior leader Kumar Vishwas of being an “agent” of the BJP and RSS.
Khan was suspended, while Vishwas was pacified with the post of Rajasthan in-charge of the party.
Mishra is considered close to Vishwas and had reportedly taken his side during the controversy.
“I know Arvind Kejriwal for the past 12 years and after having worked with him for so long I can say that I can’t even think Arvind Kejriwal will do corruption or take a bribe. Even his enemies won’t believe this.”
Deputy chief minister Sisodia said the former minister’s charges were not worth responding to.
“He was removed due to his poor performance. The allegations against Kejriwal are unsubstantiated. No one will believe them.”
Mishra stood his ground, though. He alleged that he was removed for putting pressure on the party leadership to act against corruption.
“I have proof for the tanker scam, which I will put before the anti-corruption branch,” he said, underscoring that he would give his statement before the CBI or the anti-corruption bureau if required.
Mishra alleged that there are other instances of corruption in the party such as money laundering and a scandal involving luxury buses. But “I always believed in Kejriwal and felt no one could corrupt him”.
“I will say that it was Kejriwal’s bad luck that I reached there and saw this thing happening. I worshiped him like god, I left my job for the party,” said the former AAP minister.
The allegations have given fresh ammunition to Kejriwal’s opponents. The Delhi Congress demanded an FIR against him.
Mishra’s charges were not mere allegations but testimony of an eyewitness that warrants criminal proceedings against Kejriwal, the party’s city unit chief Ajay Maken said.
The BJP demanded his resignation.
“Kejriwal has no moral right to hold the post of chief minister. He must resign immediately,” said Manoj Tiwari, the BJP Delhi unit chief.