Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab vice-president of its trade and industry wing Vinod Thapar on Thursday filed a police complaint against his party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, former Punjab affairs incharge Sanjay Singh, former co-observer Durgesh Pathak and two others alleging that the leaders demanded he pay money for a ticket in the Assembly election.
In his complaint, Thapar said: “Arvind Kejriwal and his team promised to make me a candidate from a seat in Ludhiana in the Punjab polls and demanded Rs 2 crore as the elections approached.” He also alleged that Pathak and Sanjay Singh took money for him during Punjab polls on the pretext of arranging meetings with Kejriwal. The party’s Ludhiana media in-charge has denied the allegations.
Alleging ‘fraud and blackmailing’, Thapar, in his complaint, submitted to Ludhiana Police Commissioner RN Dhoke, said that Pathak and Sanjay Singh continued assuring him of a ticket before the polls and kept taking money in return but the ticket was never given, and, moreover, no receipts were provided to him by the party whenever he submitted donations collected from various persons. “We collected money from various persons for use in campaigning thinking it will be used for welfare of Punjab and AAP but its details and receipts were never provided,” he alleged.
“They kept taking money from me in installments not only for ticket but also for arranging a meeting with Arvind Kejriwal at my residence. They said that each person who would attend meeting should give at least Rs 20,000. We kept giving them money and they kept promising but they were never fulfilled,” Thapar said, naming seven witnesses that saw him hand over money to Thapar and Sanjay Singh.
Commenting on the meeting of industrialists that was organised by AAP during a campaign meeting at Hotel Fortune Klassik in Ludhiana, Thapar alleged that he paid a bill of Rs 1 lakh from his pocket. “Money was extorted from me saying Kejriwal will come and meet industrialists but in the end he did not even turn up. His deputy Manish Sisodia came and I was asked to pay the bill. No details of the expenditure incurred from the money that I gave to them was provided. Whenever I asked for details, I was threatened,” Thapar claimed.
Aam Aadmi Party’s media incharge for Ludhiana Darshan Singh Shankar, however, rubbished the allegations saying he didn’t deserve the senior post which the party gave him. “… he was made vice president of industry and trade wing. But he is levelling false and baseless allegations now after three months of poll results. He is playing in the hands of Congress now and hoping for a plump posting there. Earlier, he thought that AAP would win and he would get some plump post. His allegations regarding Rs 2 crore demanded for a ticket are completely false as Ludhiana central seat which he is talking about was given to Lok Insaaf Party of Bains brothers as per seat sharing arrangement with them,” Shankar said.
On Thapar’s allegations about donations, the party’s media incharge said: “We never take any donations without receipts, maybe he collected money on his own and now after getting in trouble he is demanding receipts from us. As far as paying bill of meeting with industrialists is concerned, it was not a party programme but organised by his Knitwear Club. We were not liable to pay for it.”
Ludhiana Police Commissioner RN Dhoke confirmed the complaint has been filed. “I have marked it to ACP concerned for further probe.” AAP’s New Delhi-based leaders Pathak and Sanjay Singh had resigned from their posts in the Punjab unit following the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections as well as following the upheaval against them by local leaders alleging their interference and dominance over state issues.
There is no use finding fault with the EVMs now when the party leadership committed a historic blunder with regard to the overall strategy in the elections. First, it should look within to find out reasons that stopped AAP’s march to power,” Chandigarh-based The Tribune quoted Mann as saying.