The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is contemplating action against its Punjab unit convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur for taking a packet of cash in a reported video sting operation . Not only may he be removed from his post, but even be expelled from the party, barely six months before the assembly elections are due.
According to Hindustan Times, The video was shown to AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal upon his return from Himachal Pradesh, where he had gone for a Vipassana retreat from August 1 to 11, and he was “very upset”, said a Delhi-based, senior AAP leader, who briefed the media on the issue on Wednesday, on the condition of not being named.
While a video clip purportedly shows Chhotepur accepting cash from a party worker, a separate audio file depicts him ‘admitting’ that Sangrur party MP Bhagwant Mann has a drinking problem. The audio file is available on various social media platforms, but the video clip has been kept under wraps.
Chhotepur said the video clip was made only to embarrass him, and there was nothing incriminating about it. “Earlier this month, an AAP supporter came to meet me. He was referred to me by two senior leaders. He tried to hand me a small packet, which he said contained funds for the party. Though I refused to take the money, he left it on my suitcase while leaving. I did not even know he had done that. Was the money being given for something I promised to do? Was it a quid pro quo? The answer is no.”
But, is the party collecting donations in this manner? “AAP does not have an account in Punjab,” the party leader explained. “We don’t even have a designated treasurer to collect donations and disburse money for party activities.”
Chhotepur said other leaders take adequate precautions to prevent “stings” like the one he faced. “I have been told that some Delhi leaders make sure party workers put away their mobile phones and pens before meeting them. Why should I do that? My life is an open book. Every paisa donated to the party is accounted for.”
Regarding the audio clip, Chhotepur said he did not know who the caller was. “The man, who claimed to be a party worker, said he found it difficult to justify Mann’s drinking problem during TV discussions. I told him that the party was aware of the problem, and was trying to talk to Mann about it. That’s all. It is a petty political move to embarrass me and the party,” he said.