The tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena took a turn for the worse on Monday as the party MLAs decided to stay overnight at the Delhi Assembly premises, demanding a probe against the LG for allegedly changing banned currency notes during his term as the KVIC chairman in 2016.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said its MLAs would also spend the night in the Assembly, staging a dharna against the AAP government.
There was no immediate reaction from Saxena to the AAP's allegations.
During the House proceedings on Monday, the ruling party legislators trooped to the Well, alleging that the "scam" was worth Rs 1,400 crore and demanding Saxena's resignation, besides a probe by both the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The development came days after Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged corruption in the implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and the AAP's accusations that he was "interfering" in the city government's work.
Based on the LG's recommendations, the CBI registered an FIR in connection with the alleged excise policy scam and raided Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's residence earlier this month. Sisodia is one of the accused in the matter.
Defending Saxena, the BJP on Monday said AAP leaders are levelling these allegations "to take revenge".
"Ever since LG V K Saxena assumed office, he is questioning the government over a range of issues such as the excise policy and construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools.
"They (AAP leaders) are doing this to take revenge and divert attention from their wrongdoings," BJP's Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta told reporters in the Assembly.
The House witnessed a rocky session on Monday, forcing four back-to-back adjournments, as AAP legislators trooped to the Well raising slogans against Saxena and holding up placards calling for his "arrest".
Amid the slogan shouting, Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla adjourned the House till 11 am.
"Our MLAs will stay overnight in the Assembly to demand a probe against the LG. From 7 pm onwards, they will sit near the Gandhi statue to protest against the scam by Delhi LG during the time of demonetisation," AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told a press conference.
The party is up in arms against the LG after MLA Durgesh Pathak alleged in the Assembly on Monday that Saxena had pressured his employees to exchange demonetised notes worth Rs 1,400 crore in 2016, when he was the chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
Speaking during a special session of the Assembly, Pathak said, "In 2016, Saxena forced Khadi's cashiers to exchange his old unaccounted bank notes for him.
"When the whole country was suffering from cashlessness, lakhs lost jobs and several slept hungry, the then KVIC chairman Saxena committed a scam of Rs 1,400 crore in the name of Mahatma Gandhi," the AAP MLA alleged.
He claimed that two cashiers of the KVIC had exposed the "scam" but Saxena "himself investigated" their allegations and suspended them.
"Cashiers Pradeep Yadav and Sanjeev Kumar stated on record that after demonetisation, an illegitimate exchange of Rs 22 lakh in cash took place from their (Delhi) branch alone. And in this manner, the same scam was conducted through 7,000 branches of Khadi spread across India," Patrhak said.
Saxena sought a report from the chief secretary last week over a delay of more than two-and-a-half years in acting on a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report on an inquiry into construction of additional classrooms in Delhi government schools.
BJP MLAs were marshalled out of the Assembly at the start of the session and were not present in the House when the disruption happened.