AAP supporters at an election campaign rally in Delhi (photo: The Hindu)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been put on the defensive just days before the Delhi assembly election, with a breakway group of AAP accusing the anti-corruption party of dubious funding. The group – AAP Volunteer Action Group – provided details to the media of four cheques totalling Rs. 2 crores ($325,000) that were allegedly received by AAP on April 15 last year from four companies.
In response, AAP wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India on Tuesday, requesting a SIT probe monitored by the Supreme Court. The party also offered to face de-recognition and accept any punishment if the investigation found anything incriminating against it.
According to the Indian Express, the four companies that donated Rs 2 crore to AAP have substantial cash reserves, but hardly any revenue.
Filings with the Registrar of Companies indicate that the four firms – Infolance Software, Goldmine Buildcon, Sunvision Agencies, and Skyline Metals and Alloys - have three common directors, and were set up between 1994 and 2009, before AAP was established in 2012.
The Indian Express visited three of the four addresses on Monday night, and found these addresses were not genuine, with the respective premises occupied by a small sewing factory, a one-room grocery shop with its shutters down, and a post office.
The BJP and the Congress on Tuesday charged AAP with receiving donations from “bogus companies and indulging in money-laundering.”
“How have companies which made no profits/remained dormant contributed substantial sums to the AAP? Why have these companies donated same amount at the same time? Were these shell companies used for money-laundering?’’ asked Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman.
The war of words escalated on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing AAP of being “dishonest”, while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley charged the opposition party with converting black money into white through hawala means.
“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,” Modi said.
AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal hit back, daring the government to arrest him if he has done anything wrong but said “it does not have the guts to do so”.