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ED alleges over Rs 7-crore foreign funding to AAP; writes to MHA seeking FCRA probe

The federal probe agency sent the communication after it recovered some documents and emails during a drugs-linked money laundering probe against former Punjab AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira

PTI New Delhi Published 20.05.24, 06:39 PM
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The Enforcement Directorate has written to the Union Home Ministry alleging the Aam Aadmi Party, which rules Delhi and Punjab, has received more than Rs 7 crore foreign funds in contravention of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), official sources said Monday.

The Aam Aadmi Party dismissed the allegation as "baseless" and claimed it was "another conspiracy hatched by the BJP" to tarnish AAP's image ahead of voting for Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and Punjab.

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The federal probe agency sent the communication after it recovered some documents and emails during a drugs-linked money laundering probe against former Punjab AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and some others.

The probe was launched in 2021 and Khaira was arrested by the ED that year. He is now with the Congress party.

Official sources said the ED had sent a detailed communication to the Union Home Ministry in August last year, underlining the alleged violations by AAP and categorising these instances as contravention of the FCRA and The Representation of the People Act.

It is understood that the ED recently shared some fresh inputs in this case with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Sources said the ED found the AAP has received overseas donations of about Rs 7.08 crore till now and they allegedly "mis-declared and manipulated" the identities and nationalities of the foreign donors apart from some other details.

The fresh trouble for AAP comes against the backdrop of the Aam Aadmi Party being made an accused in the excise policy-linked money laundering case and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's close aide Bibhav Kumar being arrested in connection with the alleged assault on the party's Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal at the CM's residence.

Baseless allegations: AAP leader Atishi

Addressing a press conference on Monday, senior AAP leader Atishi, flanked by party Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak claimed that as the BJP has failed to frame the Aam Aadmi Party leaders in the liquor scam and the Swati Maliwal issue, it has raised this issue now.

"These are baseless allegations. It is an old case where it has already been proved that no illegal donation has been taken. As the elections are nearing (in Delhi and Punjab), the BJP has hatched a new conspiracy to frame the Aam Aadmi Party," she alleged.

Pathak claimed the AAP has already submitted all the proofs to the authorities concerned in the matter and said it has maintained "transparency" in taking any kind of donations and given its full record to the Election Commission of India.

Delhi will go to polls on May 25 in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections while voting in Punjab will be held on June 1.

The Enforcement Directorate has also informed the MHA about the verified names of the donors, their nationalities, passport numbers, amount donated, mode of donation and bank account number of the receiver, billing name, address, phone numbers, email, time and the date of donation and payment gateway used, the sources said.

Some fundraising events held by the AAP through its overseas wing volunteers in the US and Canada between 2015 and 2016 are reported to have been made in alleged violation of the FCRA, the agency told the ministry.

Alleging violations in a particular instance, the ED also informed the MHA that the names of some Canada-based people and their nationalities had been "concealed" in the party's financial records to "hide" the foreign donations being made to the party into its Indian bank account.

A senior official said cases of FCRA violations are probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the home ministry can write to it seeking an investigation into these charges made by the ED.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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