Sacked Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Sunday claimed he saw Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal take Rs 2 crore in cash from Health Minister Satyendar Jain, a charge rejected by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as "unsubstantiated". Mishra's charge triggered calls for Kejriwal's resignation from the BJP and Congress.
"Day before yesterday (Friday), I saw Jain hand over Rs 2 crore in cash to Kejriwal at his residence. When I asked about the money, Kejriwal refused to answer," Mishra told the media, a day after being sacked on Saturday.
Mishra said he had informed Lt Governor Anil Baijal about the issue and will provide details to investigating agencies as well. Sisodia rejected the allegation. "The kind of allegations against Kejriwal are unsubstantiated. No one will believe them. There is no substance in this allegation."
Sisodia pointed out that the allegations came after Mishra was removed as minister. Mishra also accused Jain of facilitating a land deal worth Rs 50 crore for a Kejriwal relative.
"Jain himself told me about the deal," Mishra said, adding he was sure Jain would soon be put behind the bars.
Mishra's allegation have plunged the AAP into further crisis, soon after its defeat in the municipal polls. Mishra is known to be close to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, with whom Kejriwal has forged an uneasy truce after he made comments critical of the AAP.
Mishra said many issues had been raised against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the past, including irregularities in funding during the Punjab elections, "but we always thought Kejriwalji did not have knowledge about them.
"We had faith in him and always thought he would make things right. But I cannot stay silent after what I witnessed."
Mishra asked Kejriwal to clarify where the money came from and to apologise to people "if he committed a mistake". The AAP leader insisted that he would not quit the party. "I will neither quit the party nor anyone can ask me to go."
The BJP, the main opposition in the Delhi assembly, and the Congress quickly demanded Kejriwal's resignation.
"Kejriwal has no moral right to hold the post of Chief Minister. He must resign immediately," Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party President Manoj Tiwari said.
"I have said a number of times that Kejriwal is directly involved in corruption. Mishra's allegations prove that point." Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said Mishra's claims were not mere allegations but testimony of an eyewitness warranting criminal proceedings against Kejriwal.
"The Centre, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the CBI should immediately take action and register an FIR against Kejriwal," he told the media.