Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs will stay overnight at the Delhi Assembly premises to demand a probe against Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena for allegedly pressuring his employees to exchange banned notes worth Rs 1,400 crore when he was the KVIC chairman, sources said on Monday.
AAP MLAs will also hold a candlelight protest in front of the Gandhi statue at the Delhi Assembly premises in the evening, sources said.
AAP MLA Duregesh Pathak alleged in Delhi Assembly pressured his employees to exchange demonetised currency notes worth Rs 1,400 crore in 2016 when he was the chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. “When he was KVIC chairman, demonetisation happened and a cashier working there has given in writing that he was forced to carry out exchange of notes. It is unfortunate that he was suspended. But we want a probe in this. There is a news report also and there are statements by the affected employees,” Pathak said.
Shortly after the allegations, AAP MLAs came into the well of the House carrying placards and began raising slogans against the LG, prompting Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla suspended assembly proceedings for 15 minutes. Carrying placards of ‘LG V K Saxena Chor hai’, ‘V K Saxena ko arrest Karo’, they also protested at the Gandhi Statue in the Assembly complex.
“When he was KVIC chairman he got exchanged demonetised notes by pressuring his cashier. In Delhi branch alone, Rs 22 lakh were gotten exchanged. There are 7000 such branches across the country which means there was a scam of Rs 1400 crore,” the party alleged. AAP MLAs demanded a CBI and ED probe in the matter and called for Saxena’s resignation and arrest.
Meanwhile, no reaction was immediately available from the LG office over the allegations.
The relations between the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and the office of the Lieutenant Governor soured after LG Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Excise policy of the Delhi government last month. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence and office at the Delhi Secretariat were raided by the CBI last week in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy. Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio and is an accused in the FIR registered by the CBI, has maintained that the allegations of corruption are politically motivated.
The AAP has alleged that the opposition party’s ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the Kejriwal-led government has failed as it could not poach any of the AAP MLAs. Sisodia has also claimed that he was offered the chief minister’s post by the BJP for switching sides.
Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal filed a tabled a confidence motion in the Delhi Assembly, saying it was meant to prove that the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ may have been successful in other states but it failed here as all AAP MLAs are “hardcore honest”.
“The confidence motion is to show that ‘Operation Lotus’ could have been successful in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states but failed in Delhi. It is also to show that every AAP MLA is hardcore honest”. He also accused the BJP of toppling governments in Manipur, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. At some places they even paid Rs 50 crore, he alleged.
“You say that you are against corruption but you are buying MLAs. This is the most corrupt (central) government. You will face the curse of the poor people,” Kejriwal said.
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari slammed the Kejriwal government for tabling the confidence motion and said it is a “misuse of public money and resources”. He said 62 of the 70 MLAs in the House belong to the AAP and yet they brought a confidence motion and got it passed in the Assembly.
“What do you think of the people of Delhi? It is sheer misuse of public money and resources. If you have to bring a motion, then bring one on the corruption done in the construction of classrooms in schools,” Tiwari said.
The assembly proceeding will resume at 11 am on Tuesday.
(With inputs from PTI)