The cheques shown by rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra during a press conference on Sunday were never encashed and some have been shown at previous press conferences, Neil Terrance Haslam, the 38-year-old IT professional behind the “expose”, said. Haslam claimed that although he has “often met top officials of the Finance Ministry” and Union ministers, he is “careful to not be photographed with them” since he is “apolitical” and only concerned with “bringing down AAP”.
Haslam, a former AAP worker, previously maintained that he has been helping the Income Tax department in their case against the party. “Their investigation into the party’s finances is based on information that I uncovered; so is the CBDT case. I work with them closely — officials of the Central government, the Finance Ministry and the I-T department,” he claimed.
Accusing Haslam of “working for the BJP”, AAP leaders asked why the cheques were never cashed and where Mishra got these cheques addressed to the party. On Sunday, AAP leader Sanjay Singh had said, “In today’s press conference by Kapil Mishra, Neil was also with him. He works for BJP…and now conducts a press conference with Mishra. He showed you two cheques worth Rs 35 crore, but who do they belong to? I can also present cheques in the BJP’s name. But who’s to prove their authenticity?” Maintaining that “such a big fraud is taking place on TV”, Singh said, “At this rate, anyone can show a fake cheque. I have made a cheque for the BJP worth Rs 70 crore (shows it). Whose cheque is it? Who has issued it? This is a comedy circus.”
On Monday, AAP also alleged that the same “forged” cheque had been shown earlier last year, when Bijwasan MLA Devinder Sehrawat had made similar allegations of financial irregularities.
Haslam told The Indian Express, “Yes, some of the cheques have been shown in the past. I will have to be diplomatic when it comes to talking about where I got the cheques from though. The companies are owned by AAP MLAs, the money is going to AAP. The cheques are also from within the party.”
Haslam, however, denied that he had “intercepted” the cheques before they were encashed. “There is someone within the party, who is also concerned with what is going on,” he said.
Haslam maintained that it was important for him to remain “apolitical”, pointing out that others like Shazia Ilmi or Yogendra Yadav, who had also rebelled against the party, “had failed to bring AAP down”.