The Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi has arrested three men, including a relative and a personal assistant of AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, for allegedly taking lakhs on his behalf from a party worker on the pretext of ensuring a ticket for the civic body elections. Another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta, has also been named, and the cops claim to have audio and video proof.
Pointing fingers at the BJP — whose central government controls Delhi Police and the Anti-Corruption Branch — the AAP has called for an “unbiased” investigation and “strict action against those who may have misused any position”.
“If someone says they can help you get the AAP ticket for money, be sure that person is lying. The person who is said to have paid a bribe did not get any ticket anyway. This proves we are clean,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. “The MLAs actually never recommended the name of the person who was allegedly promised the ticket by some people,” he further said.
The BJP also held a press conference and said the case has “exposed the AAP’s true face yet again”.
The three men — MLA Tripathi’s relative Om Singh, PA Shiv Shankar Pandey, and an associate, Prince Raghuvanshi — were arrested on November 15 when they came to the party worker’s home to return ₹ 33 lakh of the money they’d taken, as the ticket promise wasn’t kept, the agency said.
The MLA and his men had allegedly promised the ticket to Shobha Khari, wife of the complainant Gopal Khari, for Ward 69, Kamla Nagar. Gopal Khari, who claims to have been with the AAP since 2014, has said in his complaint that he met MLA Akhilesh Tripathi on November 9 with the ticket request for his wife.
“Akhilesh Tripathi demanded a bribe of Rs 90 lakh for it, of which Mr Khari paid Rs 35 lakh to Mr Tripathi’s men and, as directed by him, Rs 20 lakh to another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur,” says the complaint. Mr Khari claims he told Mr Tripathi that he’d pay the rest — ₹ 35 lakh — after getting the ticket.
On November 12, when someone else got the ticket, the MLA’s relative Om Singh allegedly contacted Mr Khari; he promised a ticket for next elections and to return the money. Mr Khari has submitted audio and video recordings of these dealings, the cops claimed.
Three days later, police and staff from the anti-corruption agency “laid a trap at the house of complainant Gopal Khari, where the three men were caught as they were returning a bribe amount of Rs 33 lakh”. A case of bribery was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
“Further investigation of the case is being carried out to unearth the whole matter and to collect evidences,” said the agency press release.
Elections to the 250-member Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are scheduled for December 4, with results on the 7th. It’s the first election to the municipal corporation since its reunification in May, before which the BJP ruled it.
The AAP has not only been running an aggressive campaign for the MCD, but also for the polls in Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi’s home state, where the BJP has been in power for 27 consecutive years.
Mr Sisodia said about the bribe-for-ticket charge, “The BJP, too, knows the AAP is winning the MCD elections. So, it’s obvious that the demand for AAP tickets was also high. Some people may have misused that.”