On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Centre of trying to silence Sanjay Singh, AAP MP, by arresting him. AAP also challenged the BJP-led Union government to bring into the public domain any evidence they may have against him.
Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday in connection with the probe into money laundering allegations linked to the 2021-22 Delhi Excise Policy case.
Senior AAP leader Atishi, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, claimed that over 500 officers of the ED and CBI have conducted raids at various places linked to APP leaders in the last 15 months. However, they have not managed to find “a single evidence” against them.
Atishi said, “They raided Manish Sisodia’s residence, offices and several other places but they couldn’t find evidence of corruption of even a single penny. And now, Sanjay Singh has been targeted.”
She added, “The ED officers raided every inch of Sanjay Singh’s residence but couldn’t find anything. They arrested him because he constantly raised issues of Centre’s corruption.” Atishi also said that if there is any evidence against their leader, the Centre “should make it public”.
She claimed, “I want to challenge the BJP that if they have found any evidence against Sanjay Singh, they should make it public or they should quit politics. They can send their officers anywhere where Sanjay Singh visited and I can vouch that they will not find anything against him.”
Atishi further alleged that the Centre is “trying to silence” Sanjay Singh by arresting him. “We all know that whenever someone raises their voice against the government, there will be attempts to silence them. Since they couldn’t silence him, they arrested him (Sanjay Singh). The BJP should know that AAP is not going to get scared of their arrest threats.”
The arrest of Singh, who is aged 51, has sparked a political slugfest between the Arvind Kejriwal-led party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Singh has become the second high-profile leader of the Aam Aadmi Party to be nabbed in the case relating to the now-scrapped excise policy, after former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. On May 30, 2022, Delhi minister Satyendra Jain was arrested in a separate money laundering case.
The Aam Aadmi Party was founded in November 2012 by Arvind Kejriwal and his then-companions, following the 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement. AAP is currently the governing party in Punjab and the union territory of Delhi. On 10 April 2023, AAP was officially granted the status of National party by ECI.
The party came into existence following a difference of opinion between Kejriwal and activist Anna Hazare regarding the incorporation of electoral politics into the popular 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement, which had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill since 2011. Hazare preferred the movement should remain politically unaligned, whereas Kejriwal felt the failure of the agitation route necessitated changes in government’s representation itself. On 3 December 2015, the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by AAP government with majority in Delhi legislative assembly.
Making its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, the AAP emerged as the second largest party and managed to form the government with support from INC members of assembly. Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi, but his government resigned in 49 days after he could not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly, because of the lack of support from the INC. After President’s rule in Delhi, in the following 2015 elections, the AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly and Kejriwal was again sworn in as the Chief Minister of Delhi. In the subsequent 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, AAP was re-elected as the governing party after winning 62 seats out of 70.