Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh today dramatically, and literally, tore a defamation notice sent by Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena over the “khadi scam” allegations.
“The Constitution of India gives me the right to speak the truth,” Sanjay Singh said at a press meet, “As a member of the Rajya Sabha, I have the right to speak the truth. I will not be cowed down by this notice sent by a thief, a corrupt man.” And then he went on to tear it into several pieces: “I can tear and throw away such notices 10 times.”
In press conference, AAP MP Sanjay Singh tears Delhi L-G's defamation notice pic.twitter.com/aP6VMUP5ro— NDTV (@ndtv) September 7, 2022
This is the latest in the AAP–versus–LG, scam–versus–scam politics in Delhi ever since Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's deputy, Manish Sisodia, was raided by the CBI last month for alleged corruption in the liquor sale policy. That New Excise Policy, which made way for private players to enter the liquor trade, was withdrawn by the AAP government in July, even before the raids, as the Lieutenant Governor had already ordered a CBI probe.
The AAP says the Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the union government, is acting in "political vendetta" on directions from the Centre's ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hitting back at him, the AAP has alleged several irregularities when Mr Saxena was chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) from 2015 to early 2022. AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak said in assembly that he had pressured KVIC employees to exchange demonetised notes worth Rs 1400 crore in 2016. Plus, the party said, he misused his position and awarded a contract for interior designing of a Khadi Lounge in Mumbai to his daughter.
At this, Mr Saxena has alleged defamation and on Monday sent a legal notice to AAP's Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak, besides Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Jasmine Shah, for "derogatory, malicious" charges. He has asked the leaders to issue a press release "directing all members of the party and all persons associated with it, whether directly or indirectly, to cease and desist from spreading and circulating false, defamatory, malicious and unsubstantiated statements".
This is the notice that Sanjay Singh today tore, further fueling the fight.
There are larger questions at the nub of this fight, one of which came up in the Supreme Court today - as to who between the elected government and the L-G has more power. A Constitution Bench has set October 11 as the tentative next date of hearing.