Sacked minister says Kejriwal took Rs 2 cr cash, opposition wants CM out
New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Sacked Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Sunday alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took Rs 2 crore in cash from a cabinet colleague, triggering a mocking denial from the ruling AAP. The BJP and the Congress immediately clamoured for Kejriwals resignation.
A day after he was dismissed as minister, Mishra claimed he saw Health Minister Satyendar Jain hand over the cash to Kejriwal at his residence on Friday, plunging the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) into a new crisis after election setbacks and subsequent infighting.
"I saw Jain hand over Rs 2 crore in cash to Kejriwal. When I asked about the money, Kejriwal refused to answer. He said there are certain things in politics which are explained later," Mishra told the media.
Mishra said he told Lt Governor Anil Baijal about this on Sunday and would provide details to investigating agencies.
He also accused Jain of facilitating a land deal worth Rs 50 crore for a Kejriwal relative.
"Jain himself told me about the deal," he said, adding he was sure the Health Minister would soon be put behind bars.
Neither Kejriwal nor Jain responded to the allegations. But Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas defended the Chief Minister.
"The kind of allegations against Kejriwal are unsubstantiated. No one will believe them," said Sisodia.
He questioned why Mishra was speaking only after he was removed as a minister. Mishra said he was removed because he had already begun speaking about such issues within the party.
Kumar Vishwas said even the worst enemies of Kejriwal can't imagine him to be corrupt.
"If there was anything wrong, Mishra should have raised it in the party platform," he said, adding if he had any proof against Jain or Kejriwal he should reveal it.
He said the AAP Political Affairs Committee would decide action over the issue.
The Bharatiya Janata Party demanded Kejriwal's resignation while the Congress called for criminal proceedings against him.
"Kejriwal has no moral right to hold the post of Chief Minister. He must resign immediately," Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said.
Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said Mishra's claims were not mere allegations but a "testimony of an eyewitness".
"The Centre, the Anti-Corruption Branch and the CBI should immediately take action and register an FIR against Kejriwal," he told the media.
Social activist Anna Hazare, with whom Kejriwal started an anti-corruption crusade in 2011, said he was deeply saddened by the allegations against his former protege.
"It was because of the anti-corruption fight in Delhi that Kejriwal became the Chief Minister. Today, I cannot tell how deeply sad (I am)," he said in his hometown in Maharashtra.
Kejriwal's former party colleague and now political foe Yogendra Yadav said he won't believe Mishra without evidence.
"I might agree with charges of power greed, arrogance, authoritarianism against Kejriwal, but charge of taking bribe needs solid evidence," said Yadav, who now leads Swaraj India.
Mishra, known to be close to Kumar Vishwas, said many issues were raised against the AAP in the past including irregularities in funding during the Punjab election "but we always thought Kejriwalji did not have knowledge about them".
"But I cannot stay silent after what I witnessed."
He quickly added that he won't quit the party nor join the BJP, the main opposition in the Delhi assembly, which is expected to meet on Tuesday.
After the electoral defeats in Punjab and Goa, the AAP also lost the Delhi municipal election. Kumar Vishwas then made comments critical of the AAP leadership but later he and Kejriwal forged an uneasy truce.