New Delhi: Demanding a Supreme Court-monitored probe into funding of Congress, BJP and itself, the AAP today rubbished allegations of dubious funding and dared the government to launch any inquiry against it.
Putting up a strong defence in the wake of controversy over receiving donations of Rs 2 crore from four "dubious" companies last year, a battery of AAP leaders addressed a press conference here claiming the party vetted all donations with "due diligence".
In a letter to the CJI, the AAP said it was prepared for derecognition if the probe comes out with anything incriminating and their leaders were ready to face punishment. AAP leader and former banker Meera Sanyal said instead of addressing press conferences Finance Minister Arun Jaitley can just call up the CEOs of banks to get answers to all his queries about the four cheques of Rs 50 lakh each transferred to the AAP account.
Flanked by AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav, Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas and Ashish khetan at a press conference here, Sanyal, a former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India, added that the banking system in India is "well-regulated" with "stringent" KYC (Know Your Customer) norms.
Dismissing the charge that AAP did not check the antecedents of the donors, she said, "Banking privacy laws prohibit people from knowing information about companies. It is just not possible to go checking everyone's address. How can we be blamed for trusting the country's banking system?."
Meanwhile, the party, in a letter, urged the Chief Justice of India to constitute a Supreme court-monitored SIT probe into the funding of BJP, Congress and its own.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah in this regard "with the hope" of getting a positive response.
"Five days ahead of the Delhi assembly polls, BJP has alleged that we receive funding from 'dubious sources'. "Since it's a serious allegation we want to make it clear that all our transactions are transparent and digitalised.
Thus we would like to kindly request you to set up an SIT to probe the funding of all the three major parties in Delhi polls, BJP, Congress and AAP," the letter said. Any political party found involved in funding "irregularities" should be derecognised and appropriate action should be taken against the party functionaries, the letter added.
The party changed its earlier plan of five of its senior leaders going to the Supreme Court to hand over the letter to CJI. "Our leaders did not go to the Supreme Court as we are hopeful that the apex court will take cognisance of the letter. If not we will file a petition," a senior leader said. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted earlier in the day that a team of five leaders will go to Supreme Court and request for an SIT probe.
Meanwhile, party sources strongly denied reports that the person who had validated the payments in question had left AAP raising possibility of wrongdoing. They said that the nine-member Political Affairs Committee (PAC), which vets all donations above Rs 10 lakh, had taken all the necessary measures to ensure transparency.
"The PAC earlier used to vet cheques above Rs 7 lakh. Now the ceiling has been raised to Rs 10 lakh. In this case the committee checked the PAN card of the donor, whether the money came through channelised banking route or not, whether the company was registered with the Registrar of Companies or not.
Subsequently we made the details public," senior leader Ashish Khetan said. He said it was not the party's responsibility to check the source of money of everyone who donates as the PAC just ensures that there is no quid pro quo between the donors and the references.
Photos: Karisma Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Shraddha Kapoor at Mumbai airport
Spotted: Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh at Mumbai studio
Photos: Mallika Sherawat at a restaurant in Bandra
Photos: Tina Ahuja, Gizele Thakral at a calendar launch
32 photos from Sidharth Malhotra's Instagram album you must see