New Delhi: Amid accusations of the party receiving funds from fake companies, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into the funding of all three main political parties contesting assembly elections in Delhi.
“We demand an SIT probe monitored by the Hon’ble Supreme Court into the funding of all political parties, particularly the BJP, Congress and the AAP. The probe must cover complete donations of all the three parties including the ten and thousands of crores that the BJP and the Congress have been receiving," a statement issued by the party said yesterday evening.
We demand that an SIT be formed under the direction of SC & that SIT should investigate funding of all 3 parties(AAP,BJP & Congress) : AAP
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 2, 2015
"Since it is the matter of utmost importance vis-à-vis our democracy, we are writing a letter to Chief Justice of India requesting him to set up an SIT and monitor the probe," the AAP's press release said.
The reaction from the Arvind Kejriwal's party came shortly after a breakaway group of the AAP accused the party of receiving donations worth Rs.2 crore from bogus companies. The BJP questioned the funding but the AAP outrightly rejected the allegation as "malicious and false propaganda" unleashed by "mysterious fronts" created by the BJP.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav, at a press conference late Monday evening, said the Bharatiya Janata Party's raking up an eight-month-old issue just before the Delhi assembly polls showed that the BJP was "nervous".
"They had these files for a long time. Why are they raking up this issue now," he asked.
With assembly polls in Delhi less than a week away, the AAP also challenged the BJP-led central government to probe the source of funding which, it said, has already been investigated twice earlier.
Gopal Goyal, a member of the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM) breakaway group, said there were four donations each of Rs.50 lakh by four bogus companies to the AAP.
He claimed that the funds were received April 5 at midnight and the companies that made the donations were bogus. The AVAM was formed by then AAP members in 2014 over the demand of decentralisation of power in the party.
Addressing a press conference here, Goyal said none of the donor companies had earned even a single rupee, but donated such a huge amount.
"Where do they get their money from," asked Goyal, saying he was ready to face punishment if his charges were found to be false.
The AAP said in a statement that it was the only political party in India whose entire donations were in public domain and fully transparent. It said every rupee donated to the party was declared on its website for public scrutiny.
"It has been wrongly alleged that the AAP has accepted funds from dubious sources on 5 April 2014," the statement said.
Describing the BJP as "frustrated and desperate", the AAP said it was spreading lies.
"The BJP and some mysterious fronts created by it close to the Delhi assembly elections have unleashed a malicious and false propaganda on the funding of the AAP," the statement said.
"Since Monday morning, a defamatory smear campaign is being run against the AAP to confuse the people and divert attention from important issues concerning the people of Delhi," the AAP statement added.
It also said the party funding has already been probed twice by successive central governments -- the Congress-led UPA and now the BJP-led NDA government.
"The party also challenges the government to probe its funding from any of the agencies at its command as many times as it wants," the statement added.
The BJP, meanwhile, said the AAP had no right to question the funding of other parties until it revealed its own.
"Four fake companies, with same directors, and made within a period of 10-11 days, donated Rs.50 lakh each to the AAP on the same day," BJP leader and union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.
Citing the donation rules, Goyal said a company can donate only 7.5 percent of its average annual profit plus tax for three years as political donation.
Another BJP leader, Nirmala Sitharaman, who is also the union commerce and industry minister, said, "AAP ... till you give specific answers, stop telling other political parties what high ground you are seated on."