Delivering the biggest jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party since its inception, its senior MLA Kapil Mishra alleged on Sunday that he had witnessed party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accepting Rs 2 crore from his Cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain at his residence on Friday night. Speaking to reporters at Rajghat, Mishra said, “I saw Kejriwal take Rs 2 crore from (Health and Transport Minister) Satyender Jain. Jain told me he had struck a deal of Rs 50 crore for one of Kejriwal’s relatives. When I told Kejriwal about this he said, ‘This is false and you should have faith in me’. I told him I trust him but having seen the cash with my own eyes, it was not possible for me to keep quiet.” Mishra said he had recorded his statement on the allegation before Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and was ready to testify before the Anti-Corruption Branch as well as CBI.
The allegation immediately triggered a political firestorm with the BJP and the Congress demanding the resignation of Kejriwal. While BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari said the L-G should “examine the possibility of recommending the dismissal of the AAP government to the President”, Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded a CBI probe into the allegation.
Mishra said he had recorded his statement on the allegation before Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and was ready to testify before the Anti-Corruption Branch as well as CBI. The allegation immediately triggered a political firestorm with the BJP and the Congress demanding the resignation of Kejriwal. While BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari said the L-G should “examine the possibility of recommending the dismissal of the AAP government to the President”, Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded a CBI probe into the allegation.
Tiwari also met the L-G “regarding (the) serious cash bribery allegations” while Youth Congress workers staged a demonstration outside Kejriwal’s residence. Kejriwal, however, received support from his party colleagues, with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia dismissing the allegation as “not worth responding to”. The AAP chief also appeared to have the backing of Kumar Vishwas, who had last week threatened to “take a major decision” while appearing to be unhappy with the party’s functioning. “I am confident that Kejriwal can never take a bribe. Not even his worst enemy can imagine this,” said Vishwas. Former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, who broke away to form Swaraj India, posted on Twitter: “I might agree with charges of power greed, arrogance, authoritarianism against Kejriwal, but charge of taking bribe need solid evidence.”
On Saturday, minutes after being removed as Delhi’s Water Resources and Tourism Minister by the AAP leadership, allegedly because of the poor water management, Mishra announced that he would make a big revelation at Rajghat, from where India Against Corruption and AAP had started its anti-graft crusade. On Sunday, Mishra paid obeisance at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi along with his wife before speaking to reporters.
“Let me start out by saying that I will not leave AAP… if there is any dirt we will clean up the party. It is my party, it is the volunteers’ party. I will not leave it nor can anyone throw me out. I am the only Minister in the Cabinet who has no corruption charges. I have not appointed a daughter or relative on any post. It was repeatedly said that because of water mismanagement, I was being removed. Over the last two years, all statements and interviews by Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia have praised the government’s achievements on water. Were they lying so long or do they now have to lie for some compulsion?” Mishra said. Then, he levelled a series of allegations against the AAP chief. “First (Jitendra) Tomar was made a minister. He was given a clean chit that all his papers are fine. I saw through that, and then Tomar was removed. Now, Jain is being given a certificate of honesty. Lekin kagaz maine bhi dekhe hain (But I, too, have seen the papers). I have seen him (Kejriwal) taking cash with my own eyes. Despite being in the Cabinet for two years, I have given my statement to the L-G on record,” said Mishra.
“When a two-year Cabinet colleague and a comrade in agitations for 15 years says this. it is not just an allegation. I have given my statement to the L-G. After this, I will approach the ACB and CBI. This cash transaction happened at his residence. Why is there an attempt to protect Jain and what was the need for him to take cash? What was the use of that cash? Some corrupt people have come into this revolution. Some people have gotten used to protecting the corrupt,” Mishra alleged. “Different cases come to the fore every now and then. bus scam, money laundering. The (AAP) volunteers used to keep watching, with the one hope that Kejriwal is an honest man and can never accept a bribe… He has to explain where that money came from,” said Mishra. The AAP MLA from Karawal Nagar also claimed that once Jain is in jail, “the entire truth will come out”. “Kursi jaaye toh jaaye, praan bhi chala jaaye, Bapu ke samadhi ke saamne zimmedari se keh raha hoon, main chup nahi rahunga (If I lose my position or my life, let it happen but I am speaking with responsibility at Bapu’s memorial, I will not remain silent)… I told him (Kejriwal), everyone makes mistakes, you must apologise,” said Mishra.
Reacting to the allegations, Sisodia, who was huddled in a meeting at Kejriwal’s official residence with the AAP leadership, said, “Last evening, I had called Kapil and told him about the CM’s decision to reshuffle the Cabinet and had explained to him that recently there have been several complaints over water supply. A large number of MLAs were hassled because of this and they were being abused because of this. The baseless allegations levelled by him today are not even worth responding to. I don’t know what to say to that.” AAP leader Vishwas said, “This is a sad day… I have known him (Kejriwal) for 12 years. I am hurt and the volunteer is worried. There are repeated attacks on us but the Opposition is worried that we have survived every such attack. We must trust each other and the anti-corruption crusade that we started… let there be a mopping up of dirt within and outside.”