Aam Aadmi Party today said it will file a criminal defamation case against the web portal that carried out a sting operation against its candidates.
The party, which is tipped to emerge a major political force in Delhi post assembly elections, said it will request the Election Commission to investigate charges leveled in the sting.
A video released by MediaSarkar web news portal allegedly showed AAP candidates agreeing to help push property deals and resolve financial disputes in exchange for cash donations to the party.
The AAP had asked the MediaSarkar management, to hand over the raw footage of the sting by 3pm today and failure to do so will mean a legal action.
On expiry of the deadline, AAP Political Affairs Committee (PAC) member Yogendra Yadav told a press conference, “We will withdraw candidates if found guilty. AAP does politics of honesty. We are under greater scrutiny and we will come out clean,” Yadav said.
“Why is MediaSarkar reluctant to give us the footage? We suspect it's a conspiracy against AAP,” he said, while pointing to “discrepancy” between the transcript and the actual conversations in the video.
“The CD of the sting shows AAP candidates were being pestered by reporters. Their conversation was edited to give a wrong impression,” Yadav said.
He said what transpired before and after what has been released has been edited out.
Claiming that at the root of the sting operation was the fear of AAP, Yadav said the “the tall claims of the sting are not backed up; in every case, a reporter is chasing an AAP candidate”.
Earlier in the day, Yadav had said the tapes had been doctored.
"Last night we were promised by MediaSarkar that they would hand us the raw footage of the stings so that we can examine them, but now have refused," Yadav told reporters.
"Our candidates interacted at length with the reporters carrying out the sting but in the clip only a few minutes' footage is shown," he added.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party has called an emergency meeting and formed a committee, which include PAC members Yogendra Yadva and Sanjay Singh to probe the matter.
MediaSarkar video purportedly showed a reporter posing as a representative of a company and seeking AAP leader Shazia Ilmi’s her help to teach a lesson to a rival company.
Initially, Ilmi refused to help the reporter without legal documents, but later allegedly agreed to help her even without documents when the reporter offered her donations in cash.
Ilmi is also shown in the video allegedly telling the reporter that the party accepts donations in cash.
The sting operations were also done on AAP candidates from Kondli (Manoj Kumar), Sangam Vihar (Dinesh Mohaniya), Okhla (Irfan Ullah Khan), Rohtas Nagar (Mukesh Hooda), Deoli (Prakash) and Palam (Bhawna Gaur).
On Thursday, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal dismissed the sting operation as a conspiracy against his party, but said it will not compromise on the issue of corruption.
"We will not spare anyone if found guilty," he had said, adding he knew who were behind it as BJP and Congress have been routed by AAP.
Reacting to allegations, BJP leader VK Malhotra said the sting operation has "exposed AAP totally".
"Earlier also Anna Hazare condemned them for taking all this money which was collected at Hazare's agitation for election purpose.
"Elections are in Delhi, but money is coming from USA, UK and other places. If they take money from outside and contest election in Delhi, then tomorrow they can sell India's interest also by taking foreign money," said Malhotra. (With agency inputs)