AAP's Kapil Mishra was sacked as Delhi Water Minister on Saturday
New Delhi: Delhi's sacked Water Minister Kapil Mishra made a shocking revelation today, claiming he saw Health Minister Satyendar Jain handing Rs. 2 crore in cash to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The allegation triggered a political crisis for the Aam Aadmi Party, which swept to power in Delhi two years ago on an anti-corruption plank. The BJP called for police action against Mr Kejriwal, the Congress for a CBI probe. AAP called Mr Mishra's allegations "absurd". Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who announced Mr Mishra's removal from the cabinet yesterday, said he has offered no evidence.
Here are the latest developments in this big story:
Kapil Mishra, the 36-year-old former minister, said he met Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal this morning and revealed all to him. Tomorrow, he would visit the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation, he said. "They must say what was done with the money," Mr Mishra said at the promised tell-all meeting at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in Rajghat.
"I want to say that I have worshipped Kejriwal, he is my heart... I don't believe the Arvind Kejriwal who is with Satyendar Jain. The day Jain goes to jail Kumar Vishwas will also believe me," Mr Mishra said. He also added that he was not quitting AAP. "AAP is my party," he said.
Calling it an "implosion", BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said while Mr Kejriwal came to power promising honest governance, "He is now the most corrupt politician in the history. This is the fastest degeneration of a political party we have seen".
Pointing out that six ministers of Delhi are facing corruption charges, the Congress called Mr Mishra's allegations "very serious". "I think it is an affidavit he's produced to the people. The CBI must lodge a First Information Report in this case," said senior party leader Ajay Maken. In the evening, Youth Congress workers held protests outside Mr Kejriwal's residence.
Mr Kejriwal found support from senior party leader Kumar Vishwas and former party leader Yogendra Yadav who quit to form his own political party. "I have known Kejriwal for 12 years. I can't think that he will indulge in corruption," Mr Vishwas said. Mr Yadav said, "I might agree with charges of power greed, arrogance, authoritarianism against Kejriwal, but charge of taking bribe need solid evidence".
Mr Mishra's removal -- the latest in a string of upheavals to hit the Aam Aadmi Party -- came last evening minutes after a series of tweets from him promised a "massive expose on tanker scam".
Though Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia attributed it to water management not being "up to the mark", Mr Mishra said the decision was made because it was known that would "reveal big names".
Mr Mishra yesterday said he had already met Mr Kejriwal and informed him about the issue. But the Chief Minister's response, he said today, was unexpected. "Arvind Kejriwal is directly calling up many AAP leaders and legislators... huge conspiracy ahead of my press conference... won't stop, won't bend," he added.
An inquiry into the tanker scam set up by the AAP government last year put the size of the scam at Rs. 400 crore and accused former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of creating artificial water scarcity to benefit the "tanker mafia".
Mr Mishra is considered close to Kumar Vishwas, who headlined AAP's internal crisis that spilled out in the open last week. Like Mr Vishwas, he was one of the few AAP leaders who had contradicted the party's stand, blaming Electronic Voting Machines for its humiliating defeat in the Delhi municipal elections.