New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been asked by the Home Ministry to explain its funding from foreign sources. The queries follow suspicions that the party may have violated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act that is administered by the Home Ministry.
- AAP asked to explain funding under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act
- Home Ministry official says the notice to AAP is part of 'routine' querie
- AAP is going through a rough patch with an internal feud
The questionnaire is the first step to confirm allegations of violations of the law to regulate remittances from abroad to civil society groups and political parties. The home ministry, if it isn't satisfied, can order the party to produce its account before recommending action against the party.
As reports of the communication emerged on Friday, AAP leaders lashed out at the BJP-led ruling alliance, for what it called, was a clear case of witch hunting and vendetta politics. Just yesterday, the CBI had targeted a Delhi government official for a "high-cost" contract for engaging security personnel at the city's hospitals.
"CBI raids yesterday & foreign funding investigation today, Centre's vendetta comes out as an all-out war on this political toddler called AAP," the party's spokesman Raghav Chadha tweeted.
A Press Trust of India report later quoted a Home Ministry official calling its communication as part of "routine" queries sent to some political parties on overseas funding. A decision on further action would be taken on any further inquiry only after the AAP submits its reply.
AAP leader Ashutosh called the Home Ministry move "pressure tactics".
"We've been probed by two successive governments over foreign funds, once by Manmohan Singh government and once by this government. And both times, the concluding report gave us a clean chit. Why target us again and again if you're going to get the same result?" Ashutosh said.
The party is going through a particularly rough patch. It was on the verge of losing its leader Kumar Vishwas to an internal feud and was able to retain him, only after suspending Okhla legislator Amanatullah Khan from the party. Days earlier, the party had failed to win any of the three municipal corporations in the just-concluded MCD elections in the national capital that appear to indicate AAP's fading appeal. When it came to power in 2015 in the city, AAP had won 67 of the 70 assembly seats.
AAP has in the past been accused by a group of its former members of accepting donations from dubious companies with no credible source of income or legitimate addresses. It had pulled out details of its donors from its website after suggestions that the government had targeted its donors.
(With inputs from PTI)