Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Hardip Singh Kingra, who recently resigned from the party, alleged that party’s Delhi leaders had been accepting cash collected by Punjab leaders for the party.
A former bureaucrat, Kingra is a close aide of party’s sacked leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Kingra said a bag containing Rs 16 lakh was handed over to AAP national spokesman Ashutosh and another Rs 5 lakh to party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh.
“I headed the AAP’s finance committee and we had 12 members with us. Before the Maghi Mela in January this year, we collected around Rs 24 lakh from party supporters. While everyone deposited the amount in the party fund, one of the members of the fundraising committee, Surinder Singh Arora, told me that he had collected `6 lakh but gave Rs 5 lakh to Sanjay Singh and `1 lakh was deposited in the party account.”
Rubbishing the allegations, Arora said he would file a defamation case against Kingra. Arora said he had all details of funds raised for the party. Sanjay Singh also refuted the charges and said Arora was telling the truth.
Rs 5 LAKH TO MEET PATHAK?
Kingra also played a conversation, purportedly between AAP worker from Samrala, Paramjit Dhillon, and party’s Ludhiana sector observer Ambrish Trikha, in which Trikha is heard asking Dhillon that he will have to pay `5 lakh per month to “meet and hang around” party’s national organisation builder Durgesh Pathak so he is seen as a prominent AAP leader. Trikha added that the payment could also be made through cheque. He said if anybody wants to “meet” Pathak, he has to pay `5 lakh. Ambrish could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
AAP RUBBISHES CHARGES
When contacted, Pathak said he was not responsible for a conversation between two persons. “If someone is demanding money using my name, how can I be held responsible for it? The party has taken the recorded conversation seriously. We have asked for an inquiry into the contents of the audio clip. Strict action will be taken if the allegations are found to be true,” Pathak said.
The AAP has dismissed the allegations saying Kingra was defaming the party as he was denied ticket for contesting assembly polls.
Kingra said party’s Tarn Taran zone coordinator Iqbal Singh had handed over Rs 16 lakh to Ashutosh. He said the money was part of the Rs 1.5 crore collected during the 13 fundraising lunches and dinners organised by the party across Punjab. Ashutosh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Challenging the party’s legal cell in-charge Himmat Singh Shergill to take him to the court for defaming him, Kingra said he (Shergill) had “lied” when he said that 13 bank accounts of the AAP were functional in Punjab. “Twenty-seven bank accounts of the party were functional during the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab of which only four-five are active now. There is no account from which the Punjab leaders are given money by the party,” he said.