Sheila glare on AAP funds

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.11.13
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New Delhi, Nov. 10: Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit today questioned the source of the Aam Aadmi Party’s funds, stepping up attacks on the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit that has been accusing her Congress government of corruption.

Ahead of the December 4 Assembly elections in Delhi, allegations have been made that the AAP receives funds from foreign nationals and foreign agencies. The party claims that all its overseas donations come from NRIs — Indian citizens living abroad.

A petition was filed in Delhi High Court last month seeking a probe on whether the AAP was receiving foreign funds in violation of the law. The Centre has to submit a report to the court by December 10.

“Where do you AAP get all the money from? You can call me a liar or I can call you a thief. But is there any proof to say that I am a liar? Is there any proof to say that you are a thief?” Dikshit said in an interview to PTI.

“Just by pointing fingers, you cannot make somebody corrupt. Everybody is living in glasshouses.”

AAP members, who have made corruption their main poll plank, argued that such comments reflected the Congress’s nervousness.

“It’s obvious that the Congress chief minister is rattled and unsettled by the AAP’s growth,” party leader Prashant Bhushan told The Telegraph.

The AAP website details Rs 19 crore worth of donations received from 63,000 individuals from across the world. The sums range from Rs 10 to several lakhs.

According to the party, it has received Rs 13.18 crore from donors in India and the rest from NRIs based in America, Britain, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Southeast Asia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“Several foreign nationals who are of Indian origin had offered to donate funds but we refused. We have collected money only from Indian citizens and NRIs. We are not violating any rule or law,” Bhushan said.

Over Rs 2 crore of the NRI donations came from America and Rs 1.14 crore from Hong Kong, the AAP says. Other substantial contributions came from NRIs in Singapore, the Emirates and Britain.

Kejriwal held his first election march on Delhi’s streets today but it drew poor crowds. Party volunteers formed the bulk of the marchers, who set off from the busy Chandni Chowk area.

“Unfortunately, the route for which we got permission did not have much population. We never asked anyone to follow us; our idea was to go to the people,” Bhushan claimed.

At a few places, residents waved the broom — the party’s election symbol — as the marchers passed by.

The AAP claims it will win 33 of Delhi’s 70 seats, 42 of which are now held by the Congress.