Saddened By Allegations Against Arvind Kejriwal, Says Anna Hazare

Kapil Mishra, former Water Minister in AAP's Delhi cabinet, claimed he saw Arvind Kejriwal receive Rs 2 crore in cash from Health Minister Satyendar Jain

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Saddened By Allegations Against Arvind Kejriwal, Says Anna Hazare

79-year-old Anna led the months-long corruption agitation in 2011 which drew widespread support

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Sacked AAP Minister alleged Arvind Kejriwal received 2 crores in cash
  2. 'This is extremely saddening,' said Anna Hazare on the corruption charges
  3. Mr Kejriwal is the former protege of the anti-corruption activist
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare today said he was "saddened" by corruption allegations against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was also his former protege. Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, however, said it would prefer to differ. "We respectfully disagree with Anna Hazare," said the party's senior leader Ashish Khetan.

The 79-year-old activist, whose months-long agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill in 2011 had drawn widespread support, said he had been following sacked water minister Kapil Mishra's allegations against Mr Kejriwal on television. 

"It was because of the anti-corruption fight in Delhi that Kejriwal became the Chief Minister. And today, when he (Kejriwal) is accused of corruption, I cannot tell how deeply sad that makes me," said Mr Hazare from his base in Ralegan Siddhi near Pune.

Mr Kejriwal, who was one of the key members of the non-profit India Against Corruption, later moved to politics. Mr Hazare, who was initially miffed with his resolution, had later relented and given him his blessings. But he had kept track of Mr Kejriwal's political career and often offered comments and advise.

AAP has rubbished Mr Mishra's claim - that he saw Arvind Kejriwal receive Rs 2 crore from health minister Satyender Jain -- as "absurd". Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said the allegations "don't merit a response".

Kumar Vishwas, whom Mr Mishra is said to be close to, has also rallied around Mr Kejriwal, saying "no one would believe Kejriwal took bribe". "I have known Kejriwal for 12 years. I can't think that he will indulge in corruption," said Mr Vishwas, whom the Chief Minister called his "younger brother" last week during the last crisis the party was facing.

Even Yogendra Yadav, who quit AAP to form his own political party, said he could not give credence to corruption allegations against Mr Kejriwal. "I might agree with charges of power greed, arrogance, authoritarianism against Kejriwal, but charge of taking bribe need solid evidence," he said.

Mr Mishra's allegations have triggered a political storm, with the BJP demanding the Chief Minister's resignation. The party has sent a delegation to meet Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

The Congress has called for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The youth Congress is holding a protest outside Mr Kejriwal's residence.

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