AAP Hit by Funding Controversy, BJP Claims 'Hawala at Midnight'

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Former Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal at the NDTV townhall.


New Delhi: 

Some of the fiercest criticism of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP has revolved around their  unsubstantiated claims of corruption against political opponents and industrialists.

Today, it was AAP that was accused of swindling money by a group of former members and supporters; they said that last year, at midnight on April 5,  AAP received 50 lakhs through four bogus companies that were fronts for money-laundering. The allegations were quickly bolstered by the BJP, which is waging a major campaign in Delhi against AAP for the coming election.  "We can safely call it 'hawala at midnight', " said Shazia Ilmi, who quit AAP in May 2014 and joined the BJP last month.

AAP in a media statement said that donations are listed in batches on its website once cheques are cleared by banks  and  "therefore the malicious campaign about transactions at midnight is completely incorrect."

"We've taken all donations by cheque. If the companies raised that money through some sort of violations, then how are we responsible for that?" asked Mr Kejriwal on a townhall show organized by NDTV.  "Please punish me if anything wrong is found," he added.

The group of activists who took on AAP today refer to themselves as AVAM (AAP Volunteer Action Manch).   The group was launched in August last year, and many of its members accused Mr Kejriwal of turning AAP into a one-man show with little tolerance for criticism.

The BJP, which has enlisted top union ministers and nearly 120 MPs to coordinate its campaign in Delhi for the election, said AAP, founded on a pledge to fight corruption, stands exposed.  "Mr Kejriwal should stop lecturing other parties," said the BJP's Nirmala Sitharaman.
 



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