When you claim to be ‘Holier than thou’, even the slightest of blemish on your character, will be examined scrupulously. This is what happened with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday night, when the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM), a splinter group of the AAP accused the latter of money laundering, labelling it as the ‘Midnight Hawala’ scam. The AVAM revealed that the AAP accepted two crore rupees donation from dubious companies. Four cheques, each of rupees 50 lakh were deposited into their account at midnight all at the same time.
Let’s make certain things clear from the beginning.
- This is not a ‘hawala’ scam as the payment was made via cheque.
- Money was deposited on April 5th, 2014, more than 8 months ago.
- Exposing this only 5 days before the election day makes the timing suspicious.
- BJP hand behind this operation and their nexus with the AVAM cannot be ruled out.
Additionally, I wouldn’t use the word ‘expose’, as the information was procured from the AAPs website and not through confidential documents or a sting operation. The most amusing and ironical part of the proceedings, is that the BJP and the congress are going all guns blazing against the AAP. The two national parties just cannot take a morally superior position in this matter. Thousands of crores of funding for the BJP comes from ‘Unknown Sources’ and some of the biggest scams in the history of independent India, happened under the congress regime. The congress in fact, had the temerity to dismiss the 2G scam by claiming that there has been ‘Zero loss to the exchequer.’
The AAP has formed a Political Affairs Committee (PAC) which investigates all donations which are more than 9,99,999 rupees. Though the AAP has demanded a Supreme Court monitored SIT probe on this, they should just admit that there was a lapse in their diligence and not indulge in rhetoric. The primary defense put forward by Kejriwal and his party men, is that the donations were made by cheque and that they examine only the following three things: 1) if it’s a registered company, 2) their PAN card 3) Cheque of a valid bank account. According to them, they receive thousands of donations every day and it is not pragmatic to check balance sheets and profit and loss accounts of every single company.
While this make sense to a degree, I cant fathom out why their alarm bells didn’t ring when four companies each donating 50 lakh rupees by cheque were all deposited at the exact same time? If I had a NGO and someone was so charitable to donate such a large amount, I would definitely want to enquire and find out who these people are. Granted they might be receiving thousands of donations per day, but in actuality, how many of them donate 50 lakhs and above? Did they not even for once feel the need to meet the proprietors of the company and establish whether there is any expectation of a Quid Pro Quo? Or is that an irrelevant factor? Lots of unanswered questions.
Still five more days to go before the results are out. Will the voters be swayed away from the AAP due to this? We’ll get the answer on the 10th of this month.