Funding row: Arvind Kejriwal dares govt to arrest him, PM Modi calls AAP dishonest

Stung by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) funding allegation, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday dared the Modi government and asked the Finance Minister to arrest him if he had received any 'hawala money' for party funds, which came through cheques.​

Updated: Feb 03, 2015, 22:31 PM IST
Funding row: Arvind Kejriwal dares govt to arrest him, PM Modi calls AAP dishonest

New Delhi: Stung by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) funding allegation, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday dared the Modi government and asked the Finance Minister to arrest him if he had received any 'hawala money' for party funds, which came through cheques.​

Kejriwal took to micro-blogging website Twitter to display his anguish and dared the government to arrest him if he was indeed guilty of money laundering.

“Finance minister says we took hawala money. Hawala money in cheques? I dare finance minister to arrest me if we took hawala money. What prevents him?,” Kejriwal tweeted.

He further tweeted - “Mr Finance Minister. Stop throwing muck. Act. Arrest me if I am guilty.”

The AAP chief hit back after the war of words over allegations of dubious funding escalated today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing AAP of being "dishonest" while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley charging the party with converting black money into white through hawala means.

In a statement Jaitley had said that a probe will be conducted into this matter. He even added punch saying AAP was caught red-handed in receiving funds through "round-tripping" from companies which did not have any business and said authorities will probe the issue when tax returns are filed.

"It is obvious that this is a round-tripping of black money into the system of a political party. Now, if you are perhaps trapped in an incident of this kind, this is no position that you should start blaming other political parties and try and deflect the agenda," Jaitley said.

Scaling up the offensive, PM Modi waded into the controversy and attacked AAP saying that it has turned out to be a party of dishonest.

"Now when the question of donation came up, they said we never asked for anything. They themselves credited to our bank accounts. People who know the persons with swiss accounts and had them inside their pockets, (now say) they don't even know who put money into their accounts. They say we don't know," PM said while addressing a rally in the national capital.

PM further said, "These people (AAP) went around as honest. But when money is deposited into their bank accounts they claim they don't know. The country may forgive mistakes but it will not forgive the dishonest. These people claimed that they were very honest but they have come out as dishonest."  

Addressing an election rally in East Delhi's Trilokpuri constituency, Kejriwal hit back at Jaitley for his comments that "AAP was caught red-handed" in receiving "dubious" funds.

"The government is in your hands. All the police is in your hands, the IB, ED and I-T department are with you. If you have the courage why don't you arrest me. They don't have the courage...I have done no wrong. Even my worst enemies say that Kejriwal is honest," Kejriwal said. 

The AAP leader further said that he has been facing a "vicious attack" from the BJP leaders for past few months and the attack has increased as the ruling party at the Centre has realised that it was facing a defeat in the February 7 polls.

The former Delhi chief minister also challenged BJP's chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi to come on a show and "look at me in the eye and then tell me that I was dishonest."

Attacking BJP, he said there are people in the party, who want to "keep women without jobs and education". "One of their leaders say, women should bear four children, others say don't wear jeans, don't buy cell phone," he said.

With just three days left for the Delhi Assembly polls, the AAP's CM candidate today also denied that his party should be held responsible for taking any 'hawala money' in the form of cheques for the party funds.

He further said that AAP should not be held responsible for failing to verify the financial DNA of four companies who donated two crores to the party in April last year, and whose collective records suggest dubious accounts and fake addresses.

Further rejecting the charges, AAP demanded a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe funding of all three major parties in Delhi polls (AAP, Congress and BJP). It also offered to face de-recognition and accept any punishment if the SIT probe found anything incriminating against it.

Kejriwal had tweeted earlier in the day that a team of five leaders will go to Supreme Court and request for an SIT probe.

Meanwhile, putting up a strong defence in the wake of controversy over receiving donations of Rs 2 crore from four "dubious" companies last year, a battery of AAP leaders today addressed a press conference here claiming the party vetted all donations with "due diligence".

They said that the nine-member Political Affairs Committee (PAC), which vets all donations above Rs 10 lakh, had taken all the necessary measures to ensure transparency.

AAP leader and former banker Meera Sanyal said instead of addressing press conferences Finance Minister Arun Jaitley can just call up the CEOs of banks to get answers to all his queries about the four cheques of Rs 50 lakh each transferred to the AAP account.

Flanked by AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav, Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas and Ashish khetan at a press conference here, Sanyal, a former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India, added that the banking system in India is "well-regulated" with "stringent" KYC (Know Your Customer) norms.

Dismissing the charge that AAP did not check the antecedents of the donors, she said, "Banking privacy laws prohibit people from knowing information about companies. It is just not possible to go checking everyone's address. How can we be blamed for trusting the country's banking system?" PTI reported.

Yesterday, AAP's breakaway group AVAM had alleged the party of receiving Rs 2 crore from dubious companies, AVAM also demanded action against members of AAP's Political Affairs Committee if they had taken decision to receive the donation.

(With Agency inputs)