The controversy over 'dubious' funding allegedly received by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) intensified on Tuesday as political heavyweights from different camps engaged in a war of words over the issue.
While AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal dared the government to arrest him if he was guilty, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the rookie party and slammed it over its "dishonesty and lies".
And if this was not enough, a heavyweight wondered if the AAP was set up as the controversy cast a pall on the newbie that harps on the notions of honesty and transparency!
Here's all you need to know about who said what on the funding controversy on Tuesday.
In his signature afraid-of-none style, Kejriwal tried to turn the tables on the government as pressure mounted on him.
"I challenge the government to arrest me if they have the courage," Kejriwal said at a rally in east Delhi's Trilokpuri.
"They don't have the guts to do that," he added to a thunderous applause.
AAP's expose-all stand
The political rookie played on the front foot, demanding a Supreme Court-monitored probe into funding of the Congress, the BJP and itself!
It rubbished the allegations of dubious funding and dared the government to launch any inquiry against it. In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, the AAP said it was prepared for derecognition if the probe found anything incriminating, and their leaders were ready to face punishment.
Kejriwal wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Amit Shah on the demand for an SC probe "with the hope" of getting a positive response.
AAP leader Meera Sanyal, a former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India, said the banking system in India was "well-regulated" with "stringent" KYC (Know Your Customer) norms.
Dismissing the charge that the AAP did not check the antecedents of the donors, she said, "Banking privacy laws prohibit people from knowing information about companies. It is just not possible to go checking everyone's address. How can we be blamed for trusting the country's banking system?"
Narendra Modi lashes out
However, PM Modi upped the ante against the AAP, saying it had turned out to be a party of dishonest.
"Now when the question of donation came up, they said 'we never asked for anything. They themselves credited to our bank accounts'. People who know the persons with Swiss accounts and had them inside their pockets, (now say) they don't even know who put money into their accounts.
"These people (AAP) went around as honest... The country may forgive mistakes but it will not forgive the dishonest," he said, coming down heavily on the AAP in the last leg of campaigning.
Jaitley hits out at AAP
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley added punch to BJP's thunder, saying the AAP was caught red-handed in receiving funds through "round-tripping" from companies which did not have any business. He added authorities will probe the issue when tax returns were filed.
"It is obvious that this is a round-tripping of black money into the system of a political party. Now, if you are perhaps trapped in an incident of this kind, this is no position that you should start blaming other political parties and try and deflect the agenda," he said.
On AAP seeking a Supreme Court-monitored probe, Jaitley said, "These are all diversionary tactics."
"I'm sure the statutory authorities will do their job as and when their returns are filed and as and when the facts are brought to their notice."
Rejecting AAP's argument that it received the donations through cheques, Jaitley said, "The elementary question is when you give your money by cheque, who is the controlling interest behind that company, the party is supposed to know that."
Omar in action!
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the AAP had been "set up", days before the February 7 assembly elections in Delhi, in an obvious reference to the party's breakaway group accusing it of receiving Rs 2 crore last year through four "dubious" companies.
Omar also said that the vetting process of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party before accepting donations was a "total sham".
"#AAP can't explain the failure of its due diligence but I have to ask has the party been set up?" Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The National Conference (NC) working president said, "AAP has been set up, no doubt about it. AAP's much hyped vetting process... is also now in no doubt."
What's the controversy about
A breakaway volunteer group of the AAP on Monday accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led party of receiving Rs 2 crore last year through four "dubious" companies.
The group -- AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) -- claimed that the money was donated to the AAP on the midnight of April 15 last year.
Karan Singh and Gopal Goel of AVAM alleged that four donations worth Rs 50 lakh each were remitted to the account of the AAP from four companies.
"We have heard of freedom at midnight, we can call this hawala at midnight or ghotala at midnight," said Shazia Ilmi, who had recently joined the BJP after parting ways with the AAP, following the row.