New Delhi: Ahead of crucial civic body elections in Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came under attack on Thursday from both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over findings of corruption and nepotism contained in the report of a committee that studied decisions made by the AAP government.
Congress party’s Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken released the findings of the report, obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) filing. The Congress demanded that Kejriwal step down, and called for a Supreme Court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
“If the last two-and-a-half years of the Kejriwal government are to be summarised, apart from speaking lies, making excuses, benefitting one’s own members and being corruption-ridden, there are no other features," Maken told reporters.
The committee under former comptroller and auditor general V.K. Shunglu was appointed by then lieutenant governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung last year to look into nearly 400 files showing alleged “infirmities and irregularities" in decisions taken by the AAP government. The three-member committee included former chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami and former chief vigilance commissioner Pradeep Kumar.
The release of the report is a setback to AAP ahead of elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The report, according to a statement issued by the Congress party, found that the government had allotted land to AAP for its party office “in violation of rules," illegally levied property tax on unauthorized colonies, provided accommodation to all of its legislators without a legal provision, made “illegal and unqualified" appointments of those close to the chief minister and state ministers, and sent party politicians on foreign tours funded by public money. It also listed an allegedly illegal hike in value-added tax in the city-state.
“The attempt by the Delhi government is violative of established legal and constitutional positions and we demand a clarification from AAP and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal," Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters on Thursday.
“The kind of information in the Shunglu Committee report pertains very seriously to issues of propriety and making decisions on subjects wherein it (AAP government) has no role to play," she added.
Claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was staring at a defat in the MCD polls and was hence resorting to mud-slinging, AAP’s Delhi unit convener Dilip Pandey said: “When the Shunglu Committee was formed to probe the AAP government, why has the BJP not formed any panel to look into financial irregularities in the MCD over the last 20 years?"
AAP’s senior leader Ashutosh said it was a recognized state party and entitled to office space. “Has anyone asked the Congress why does the party have an office when it has zero seats and the BJP has only three seats in the Delhi legislative assembly," he told reporters.
PTI contributed to the story