The Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi has arrested three men, including a relative and a personal assistant of AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, for allegedly taking lakhs on his behalf from a party worker on the pretext of ensuring a ticket for the civic body elections. Another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta, has also been named, and the cops claim to have audio and video proof.
Neither of the MLAs nor the party has reacted yet, though the AAP has been accusing the BJP-led central government of misusing probe agencies — including the Delhi Police and the ACB that report to the Centre-appointed Lieutenant Governor — ahead of the elections next month.
The three men — MLA Tripathi’s relative Om Singh, PA Shiv Shankar Pandey, and an associate, Prince Raghuvanshi — were arrested on November 15 when they came to the party worker’s home to return Rs 33 lakh of the money they’d taken, as the ticket promise wasn’t kept, the agency said.
The MLA and his men had allegedly promised the ticket to Shobha Khari, wife of the complainant Gopal Khari, for Ward 69, Kamla Nagar. Gopal Khari, who claims to have been with the AAP since 2014, has said in his complaint that he met MLA Akhilesh Tripathi on November 9 with the ticket request for his wife.
“Akhilesh Tripathi demanded a bribe of Rs 90 lakh for it, of which Mr Khari paid Rs 35 lakh to Mr Tripathi’s men and, as directed by him, Rs 20 lakh to another AAP MLA, Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur,” says the complaint. Mr Khari claims he told Mr Tripathi that he’d pay the rest — Rs 35 lakh — after getting the ticket.
On November 12, when someone else got the ticket, the MLA’s relative Om Singh allegedly contacted Mr Khari and promised a ticket for next elections and to return the money. Mr Khari has submitted audio and video recordings of these dealings, the cops claimed.
Three days later, police and ACB staff “laid a trap at the house of complainant Gopal Khari, where the three men were caught as they were returning a bribe amount of Rs 33 lakh”. A case of bribery has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
“Further investigation of the case is being carried out to unearth the whole matter and to collect evidences,” said the ACB press release.
Elections to the 250-member Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are scheduled for December 4, with results on the 7th. It’s the first election to the municipal corporation since its reunification in May, before which the BJP ruled it.
The AAP has not only been running an aggressive campaign for the MCD, but also for the polls in Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi’s home state, where the BJP has been in power for 27 consecutive years.
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