Delhi: AAP MLAs seek CBI probe into BJP's alleged 'Operation Lotus'; burn effigy during protest
An AAP delegation reached the CBI headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday to demand a probe into the alleged toppling of governments in various states by the BJP under 'Operation Lotus'.
An AAP delegation reached the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday to meet the agency's director and demand a probe into the alleged toppling of governments in various states by the BJP under 'Operation Lotus'.
The 10-person delegation included Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi, who claimed that the party had previously emailed CBI director Subodh Kumar Jaiswal's office to request an appointment with him but had not yet received a response.
"We have come here and are demanding that time be given to us (to meet the CBI director) because 'Operation Lotus' is a very important issue. The BJP has spent Rs 6,300 crore on 'Operation Lotus'. Hence, a CBI investigation should be conducted (into the matter) and the source of this money should be ascertained," Atishi told reporters.
"We are hopeful of being allotted time," she added.
Earlier in the day, Atishi said whenever the BJP loses assembly elections in any state, its 'Operation Lotus' begins with using the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to corner the state government. Thereafter, the ruling party MLAs are offered money and promised that cases against them will be withdrawn if they join the BJP, she alleged.
"Our MLAs were offered Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore to leave the AAP. Is this the democracy the prime minister talks about from the Red Fort. This is not the first time they are doing so. They did the same in Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh," she alleged.
"The BJP has bought 277 MLAs for Rs 6,300 crore under the 'Operation Lotus'. They collected this money by increasing fuel prices," she alleged.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Durgesh Pathak said: "We welcome and support BJP MPs demand for probe into AAP MLAs' poaching allegations."
Party MLA Kuldeep Kumar alleged that when he refused the BJP's offer of Rs 20 crore, "they threatened to frame me and send behind the bars in a fake case".
At a press conference, the BJP said the claims by AAP MLAs that they have been approached by the BJP and offered up to Rs 20 crore to switch sides is a matter of forensic investigation, and they should undergo a lie detector test.
BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari, Ramesh Bidhuri, Hans Raj Hans and Parvesh Verma alleged that the AAP is doing a "drama" of being an "anti-corruption" party and the investigation will "expose" them.
"Since they have claimed that the BJP has offered them money up to Rs 20 crore, it is a matter of forensic investigation. Why are they not revealing the names of those who called them? Why no legal action has been taken against those making poaching attempts?" Tiwari said.
The former Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president claimed that AAP leaders constantly changed their statements on the excise policy issue. Verma called for a "lie detector test" for the AAP MLAs so the investigation can "expose their drama of being anti-corruption".
The comments by the saffron party MPs came a day after seven BJP MPs in Delhi wrote to Lt Governor V K Saxena seeking an inquiry into the allegations of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia that AAP MLAs were offered Rs 20 crore to switch sides.
Labelling the allegation by Kejriwal and Sisodia as also by other AAP leaders as "malicious, false and misleading", the BJP Lok Sabha MPs alleged it was an "attempt to divert attention from the liquor scam of the Delhi government".
The Delhi deputy chief minister has been named as an accused by the CBI in its FIR registered in the probe into the alleged irregularities in implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
(With inputs from PTI)