‘Media sarkar’ operation stings AAP candidates
New Delhi:The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was jolted by a sting operation that showed some of its candidates including Shazia Ilmi accepting funds without proper verification, just days before the Dec 4 assembly elections in Delhi. The sting carried out by "media sarkar" shows Ilmi, the AAP candidate from south Delhi's R.K. Puram, willing to accept donations in cash without receipt and offering to "adjust" the amount as "salary for party volunteers".
Taking note of the video, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said the guilty would not be spared and that there will be "no compromise against corruption". "Some sting operations done on our candidates. Our team is looking into it. We will not spare if anyone is guilty," Kejriwal tweeted. "We will walk the talk. There would be absolutely no compromise against corruption," he added. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took potshots at AAP and said the party's greed has been exposed. "Exposure of AAP party... avarice is the root of all evils," tweeted BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The video comes as a setback for AAP which is already embroiled in a controversy over allegations of illegal foreign funding and a tussle with Anna Hazare over funds collected during the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement. Kejriwal and Hazare had together, under the IAC banner, held agitations against corruption in Delhi two years ago. The AAP has made the Delhi elections a three-way affair for the first time as until now the contest was always been between the Congress and the BJP.
Shazia Ilmi offers to withdraw her candidature
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi has offered to withdraw her candidature from Delhi assembly elections after a media portal claimed to have done a sting operation on her and the party's other senior leaders and alleged they were involved in "raising funds through illegal means." "It is an extremely important fight for AAP. But because of the underhand shoddy sting operation, I will not allow my party's image to be sullied. I offer to withdraw my candidature and not contest elections until and unless my name is cleared", Ilmi said.
The video purportedly showed a reporter meeting Ilmi posing as a representative of a company and sought her help to teach a lesson to a rival company. Initially, Ilmi refused to help the reporter without legal documents but later allegedly agreed to help her even without documents when the reporter offered her donations in cash. Ilmi is also shown in the video allegedly telling the reporter that the party accepts donations in cash. The sting operations were also done on AAP leader Kumar Vishwas and candidates from Kondli (Manoj Kumar), Sangam Vihar (Dinesh Mohaniya), Okhla (Irfan Ullah Khan), Rohtas Nagar (Mukesh Hooda), Deoli (Prakash) and Palam (Bhawna Gaur).
Reacting to allegations of funds misuse by AAP, BJP leader V K Malhotra said the sting operation has "exposed AAP totally". "Earlier also Anna Hazare condemned them for taking all this money which was collected at Hazare's agitation for election purpose. "Elections are in Delhi but money is coming from USA, UK and other places. If they take money from outside and contest election in Delhi, then tomorrow they can sell India's interest also by taking foreign money," said Malhotra.
Ilmi is a candidate of AAP from RK Puram assembly constituency. After the sting operation, AAP convened an emergency meeting of its political affairs committee which decided to take action against the candidates within 24 hours after going through the CD of the sting operation. "We will decide in 24 hours on the issue after going through content of the CD," Aam Admi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said after the meeting.