In less than a week of joining the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ranbir Sharma has landed in controversy for the alleged “unauthorised” use of the party’s letterhead to invite the press and others for an upcoming function.
On Saturday, Sharma will convene a “bhaichara” (brotherhood) function at Sector 13, and invitation letters were sent to various people by him and his associates to join and cover the function.
The invitation letter bore the name of the AAP with a broom, its political symbol, and claimed it was convened by AAP.
The letterhead bears no address and was issued by one Neeraj Pahwa, claiming to be an “activist”.
However, Sandeep Saini, secretary of the AAP’s Karnal unit, denied that the party was involved in any manner in the function scheduled on Saturday.
Saini said that it was unfair on part of Sharma for using the letterhead, as he (Sharma) “did not hold any official position in the party”.
“Sharma is just a member of the AAP, and no one except the office bearers of the party could use the party’s letterhead. There is no official function of the party on Saturday, and it is unfair to use the party’s name in this fashion,” said Saini.
He said that anyone using a letterhead with no address would be considered as “bogus and illegal”.
However, he added that Sharma may have been organising the function in his personal capacity.
When contacted, Sharma tried to undermine the incident and said that “it may be a communication error at some level”.
He remained evasive of the “unauthorised” use of the letterhead, and said that he would settle the “minor issue”.
“The function is aimed at roping in more common people to the party fold and no major face is expected to join on Saturday. I had informed state secretary Paramjit Singh about the function, and he had assured that people from the Karnal district executive would join us,” said the politician while confirming that the Karnal unit was not directly involved in the programme.
Meanwhile, sources in the AAP showed surprise on Sharma’s act and said that “it seemed that Sharma had some hidden political ambition”.
Party sources said that it was unbecoming for one of the major faces to indulge in such activities which would embroil the party in unwanted controversy.
A source said that the matter should be investigated, who got the letter pads of the AAP printed illegally, and used it publicly.
“It is well known that Sharma is the son-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and ex-union minister ID Swami. Since Swami belongs to Karnal and had represented the constituency, Sharma may have some agenda as Karnal is considered a Brahmin-dominating constituency,” said a political analyst on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, AAP’s state secretary, Paramjit, was not available for comments.