A day after Aam Aadmi Party minister Sandeep Kumar was removed from the Delhi government Cabinet, after an alleged sex tape surfaced, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his party took prompt action against the Social Welfare Minister as soon as the objectionable CD surfaced.
In a video message, Kejriwal said that Kumar betrayed the party and its movement, and therefore, was promptly expelled from the Cabinet. He further said that the party will hold a meeting to decide the future course of action against Kumar.
— Aam Aadmi Party- AAP (@AamAadmiParty) September 1, 2016
AAP found itself in yet another controversy, after a CD revealed Kumar in a compromising position with a woman. In response to the questions raised against the party, Kejriwal said that the difference between AAP and other parties is that his party takes prompt action against any of its party workers, if there is strong evidence against them. Even in the past, AAP has taken action against four of its party workers, he said.
The Delhi chief minister gave the examples of former Delhi Law Minister Jitendra Singh Tomar, who was removed from the Cabinet over fake degree charges, and Asim Ahmed Khan, who was sacked over bribery charges. He added that the party is known to take strict action against its party workers. Recently, Punjab's AAP convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur was removed from the post after he faced corruption charges.
Unlike other parties, AAP has not tried hiding the allegations or giving excuses, but has taken prompt action, whenever there is strong evidence against any of its party workers, said Kejriwal. He lashed out at BJP and said names of Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Vasundhara Raje, Anandiben Patel have cropped up in scams and corruption cases, but the party has not taken any action against them and has instead shielded them.
Kejriwal also said that the Congress operates in a similar manner taking the name of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Meanwhile, the BJP and Congress mounted an attack on the Kejriwal government. BJP workers staged a protest outside Kejriwal's residence on Thursday.
Delhi: BJP protest outside CM Arvind Kejriwal's residence, on Sandeep Kumar issue. Water cannon used on protesters. pic.twitter.com/8MeUNyeOHa
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 1, 2016
Sisodia on Wednesday told reporters that AAP was a party of principles. "We have zero tolerance against any kind of corruption, crime or any such activity," he said.
Kumar is the third minister who has been removed or forced out of the Cabinet by Kejriwal since the formation of the government in February 2015.
Jitender Tomar was asked to resign as Law Minister in June 2015 after he was accused of forging his college degree. In October last year, Asim Ahmed Khan was removed as Minister for Food and Environment, following allegations of taking bribe from a builder.
There are six ministers in Delhi Cabinet who hold multiple portfolios. Kumar, 36, MLA from Sultanpur Majra, also held the Women and Child Development portfolio.
Former AAP leader and eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan took potshots at Kejriwal over Kumar's removal. "Wah AK (Arvind Kejriwal) Saheb, you appoint degree forgers, bribe takers as ministers and then take credit for removing them when caught," he tweeted.
Wah AK Saheb, you appt degree forgers, bribe takers as ministers and then take credit for removing them when caught! https://t.co/rXmWTy6nM7
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) August 31, 2016
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken asked why the AAP leadership had not expelled the MLAs who had been removed as ministers. "Three of the six ministers in AAP govt caught for: 1. FakeDegree 2. Corruption 3. MoralTurpitude. But who chose them? Why aren't they expelled from Party?," he tweeted.
3 of 6 Ministers in AAP Govt caught for:
But who chose them?
Why aren't they expelled from Party?
— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) August 31, 2016
BJP leader Vijender Gupta tweeted: "When they (AAP) got elected, they said we had 67 gems. Now they stand exposed."
CM Kejriwal must resign 4 burdening Delhi with most morally corrupt cabinet.6 out of 3 mins removed in last 1yr &dozens of MLAs booked. 1/2
— Vijender Gupta (@Gupta_vijender) August 31, 2016
Another BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said that there were allegations involving Kumar and "if Kejriwal did not know about them earlier, he should resign".
Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal said that "acts" of Sandeep Kumar were "shocking" and "unfortunate".
"Such people don't deserve to be minister, let alone WCD minister! Good govt has sacked him," she tweeted.
Acts of Sandeep Kumar shocking and unfortunate. Such people don't deserve to be Minister, yet alone WCD Minister! Good Govt has sacked him.
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) August 31, 2016
With inputs from IANS