Bhushan replies to AAP notice, questions disciplinary committee
In a scathing letter, the Aam Aadmi Party's rebel leader Prashant Bhushan on Monday replied to the show-cause notice issued by the AAP and questioned the constitution of the disciplinary committee that has been set up to decide on them.
The AAP had served the notice to AAP's founder member Bhushan along with Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha on April 17 accusing them of indulging in alleged anti-party activities.
The 4 leaders were earlier removed from the top panels of the party during its national council.
In his reply to Pankaj Gupta, a member of the newly formed three-person disciplinary committee, Bhushan points out that it is unfair that the people who had initially complained against him to the party are the ones now investigating the complaint.
"You know Pankaj that you along with Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh had issued a press release on March 10, accusing me and Yogendra Yadav of many of the same charges that have been made in your 'Show Cause Notice'. Ashish Khetan had also leveled various charges against me which he subsequently apologised for. You now want to become judges of your own cause!" the letter states.
Bhushan also said there were allegations of impropriety against Gupta and Khetan both of whom are members of the disciplinary committee.
"You also know that there have been serious charges against you yourself, which should have been referred to the national lokpal, Admiral Ramdas. These included the acceptance of 'donations' of Rs. 2 crore from shell companies, without taking the approval of the PAC as required by the party's rules, as well as of stalling and not executing the decisions of the National Disciplinary Committee which I was heading and of which you were a member," Bhushan says in his letter.
"You might also know that Ashish Khetan has been accused of writing a planted story for Tehelka in defence of the Essar Company which was charge sheeted by the CBI in the 2G case, for having created a benami company, Loop Telecom, and thereby managed a second licence against the rules," he adds.
Bhushan rubbished charges that he had defamed the party by giving an incorrect account of the national council meeting on March 28.
"…you took away our mobile phones, pens and footwear as well, to ensure that no one would be able to record the planned violence and disruption of the meeting. And even the official video that was organised by you was not released in full and only a carefully edited version was released. Do you still want us to answer your charge that we had presented an incorrect version of what transpired in that meeting," says Bhushan.
"After having deliberately flouted every rule in the book in the conduct of this NC meeting and indeed being party to the planned and orchestrated violence and disorder in the meeting, you now accuse us of giving a false account of the NC meeting! I wonder how you live with your conscience?"
Bhushan also defended holding the Swaraj Samwad meeting in Gurgaon on April 14, saying that it was a "campaign to resurrect the founding principles of the party" which seem to have been forgotten by the leadership.
Bhushan criticised the party for calling the Swaraj Samwad an anti-party activity and pointed out that the constitution of the party allowed dissent.
"In this attempt to stifle dissent, you seem to have forgotten Article 6, A (a), iv of our constitution which says, "Members, other than office bearers shall be free to express their opinion within and outside the party, unless there is a specific direction to the contrary by the party for a specific period. Mere expression of a difference of opinion will not be considered as violation of the Code of Conduct unless it violates the objectives of the party."
Party spokesperson, Ashutosh, wrote on Twitter that Bhushan and Yadav are masters in shadow boxing and media leaks.
"They talk about respect for institutions. They will disrespect PAC, NE and NC as it did not decide in their favour. And now disrespecting DC," he tweeted.
The remaining three leaders are expected to submit their responses by Monday afternoon.