New Delhi: The cash scandal plaguing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took a curious turn on Monday, when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s wife, Sunita Kejriwal, broke her silence for the first time to accuse former water minister Kapil Mishra of making baseless allegations against her brother-in-law Surender Kumal Bansal, who passed away on Sunday.
It has been learnt that Bansal passed away on Sunday at a Gurgaon hospital hours after Mishra charged that another minister, Satyendra Jain, had arranged a Rs 50-crore land deal for a relative of the chief minister. Mishra did not name Bansal at the press conference he held on Sunday morning, but as the war of words between him and AAP leaders continued, Bansal’s name was dragged into the controversy.
On Monday morning, AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused Mishra of working at the behest of the BJP and trying to topple the AAP government in Delhi. At a press conference, Singh said Mishra was levelling baseless allegations because he had been sacked as a minister. He said, “Eleven months back, Kapil Mishra had written to the ACB [Anti-Corruption Bureau] claiming that the reports ACB has of the tanker scam did not have any evidence against Kejriwal. Now how come he has changed his tune? Whatever Kapil is accusing Kejriwal of is completely baseless. He is doing so just because he was sacked from the party.”
Singh charged that Mishra had also written that the ACB was working under pressure. “Under whose pressure? Under the BJP. And today, he is going to that ACB only which shows he speaking the language of the BJP,” he said.
Jain alleged that the BJP has been hounding him for some time. “I was waiting since yesterday to see to what extent would Kapil Mishra lie. He has crossed all the limits of lying. I never went to the chief minister’s residence on May 5. So when I didn’t go, there is no question of any sort of money exchange. It is so stupid,” he said.
Mishra responded to these counter-allegations against him by accusing Kejriwal of being a ‘power-drunk’ person who was using his cabinet to enrich his family. “I personally informed Sanjay Singh about the Chhattarpur seven-acre farmhouse deal and about the PWD Rs 10 core fake bill scam. Satyendra Jain told me it was done for Kejriwal’s brother-in-law,” he said.
This statement drew Sunita’s ire, who called him a “stupid man” in her tweet.
My brother in law is no more n this stupid man is speaking all written script without any mind.
— Sunita Kejriwal (@KejriwalSunita) May 8, 2017
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also criticised Mishra for naming Bansal in the entire episode. “Baseless allegations are being levelled by him. He is levelling allegations against a person who is dead. He passed away this morning. Please table the facts…. Show some humanity,” he said.
Sanjay Singh also questioned the allegation being levelled on a day when Bansal passed away.
क्या अपनी बौखलाहट में कपिल मिश्रा इतनी भी मर्यादा भूल गये की आज ही अरविंद जी के साढ़ू बंसल जी का निधन हुआ और उन पर ऐसे बेबुनियाद आरोप?
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) May 8, 2017
The news of Bansal’s death came as a surprise. It also brought into sharp focus the man who, in January 2017, was accused of alleged irregularities in dealing with the construction of a drain on GT Karnal Road. The complaint was lodged by Roads Anti-Corruption Organisation (RACO), an NGO.
News18 spoke to RACO general secretary Viplava Awasthi and quoted him as saying, “The case pertains to the construction of a drain on NH-44. Now, the PWD office in-charge of the construction of the said drain was the one in Mukarba Chowk. The tender was rolled out for Rs 5 crore, but Renu Construction (whose proprietor was Bansal) got it at 46% less.” Awasthi was further quoted as saying that with RTI replies from the sales tax department on purchases allegedly made by Renu Construction from a Rohtak-based company, the NGO had gone to the PWD with the case, but the latter refused to act on the complaint. “The RTI replies stated that there were no purchases made by Renu Construction for the construction of the drain. In fact, there was no such company called Mahadev Impex in Rohtak, as was mentioned by Bansal’s firm,” said Awasthi.
RACO had then approached the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Delhi police. “We handed them all relevant documents, which not only nailed Bansal’s corrupt activities but also Kejriwal and then PWD executive engineer P.K. Kathuria,” the report quoted Awasthi as saying. “In January, they initiated a preliminary inquiry against the three men. But, suddenly, the case was handed over to the ACB almost a month ago.”
Meanwhile, Mishra defended himself against the allegation of being a BJP agent, saying, “Every AAP leader knows that if someone who is the staunchest critics of the BJP, who has publicly criticised their policies on Kashmir and Pathankot incident and MCD corruption, it is none other than Kapil Mishra.”
He also tweeted that he met the ACB officials to apprise them about the case.
Met ACB officials and gave information on "Role of Arvind Kejriwal Ji and two of his close associates in Tanker Scam"
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) May 8, 2017
Further, he said he would be going to the CBI office on Tuesday to get three FIRs registered in the matter. “Next will go to CBI to file a case on illegal cash deal,” he tweeted.
In others tweets, he said, “First FIR will be on cash deal between Satyendra Jain and Arvind Kejriwal Ji.” Then, he added, “Second FIR will be on How Satyendra Jain has benefitted close relatives of Arvind Kejriwal in illegal land deals.” And finally, he said, “Third FIR will be on Foreign Tours using illegal money by Satyendra Jain, Ashish Khetan, Raghav Chaddha, Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak”. The information related to the third FIR, he said, had been received today through the ‘Lets Clean AAP Campaign’.