Sacked Delhi minister Asim Ahmed Khan said on Friday he was the victim of a conspiracy, pledging to “unravel” the alleged plot designed against him.
“I’m shocked. Let me gather all the details. I will answer all questions tomorrow (Saturday),” Khan said after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal cracked the whip against him for alleged bribe-taking.
Khan, however, did not seem to hold any grudge against his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which stormed to power in Delhi early this year on promises of a corruption-free government and welfare of the common man.
“Our party has a clean image. Whenever there is an allegation against any AAP member, action is taken,” Khan, one of five AAP legislators mired in controversies, said.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal used a televised press conference to announce the sacking of Khan, Delhi’s food and environment minister, over allegations that he received kickbacks from a builder for carrying out unauthorised construction.
“We received a complaint that the minister took a bribe of Rs 600,000 rupees from a builder,” Kejriwal said.
“We can tolerate anything but corruption. We won’t spare the corrupt, be it anyone,” he said.
Kejriwal has been under pressure from rivals over a series of scandals involving his party members.
In June, law minister Jitender Tomar resigned after he was arrested for acquiring a fake law degree, while former minister and party member Somnath Bharti is accused in a domestic violence case.
The BJP, the only opposition in the Delhi assembly where the AAP has 67 of the 70 MLAs, and the Congress made light of the minister’s sacking.
“Sometimes Kejriwal fights with (Delhi’s lieutenant governor) Najeeb Jung, sometimes with PM (Narendra Modi), sometimes with (home minister) Rajnath Singh, and sometimes with his own people,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“Let his stories of fights be left to him,” he said.
The BJP also said the sacking of Khan exposed the true face of the AAP. “Some minister is facing corruption charges, some involved in a fake degree row, some facing assault charges. This is AAP’s real face,” BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi said.
Congress spokesperson RPN Singh said: “This is the situation when there is no lokpal in Delhi. Imagine if there was one, the whole cabinet would have to resign.”
Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit said Kejriwal’s move was aimed at getting publicity.