Kejriwal sacks food minister Asim on graft charges
New Delhi : A party known for doing things out of the normal league, the Kejriwal led AAP (Aam Aadmi Party ) Delhi government took everyone by surprise on Friday by dramatically announcing the sacking of its environment and food minister, Asim Ahmed Khan, after a whistle blower accused him of corruption.
Asim Khan, an MLA from Matia Mahal, was alleged of having accepted a bribe of Rs 6 lakh from a builder for allowing the builder to proceed with an unauthorized construction in the MLA’s constituency. The government has referred the case to CBI for investigation. Imraan Hussain, another legislator from AAP, a Ballimaran MLA has been appointed as Food Minister with immediate effect who has replaced the tainted MLA Asim Khan in AAP Delhi cabinet.
Kejriwal took everyone by surprise, not because he sacked a minister for graft, but because he did so in a presser, on live media, and presented audio evidence against the MLA and terminated his duties with immediate effect. The complaint against Khan was reportedly received on Thursday and a decision was taken within 24 hours. The media was divided on whether it was informed about the corruption charges till the press conference. The opposition too was caught unawares as the chief minister took the high moral ground and dared BJP to sack its chief ministers who were facing allegations.
“There is a serious complaint of corruption against cabinet minister Asim Khan. The complainant has sent an hour-long audio clip which I have heard. Prima facie, the complaint seems genuine. We cannot reveal the name of the complainant because he fears for his life. The complaint is that a building was coming up in his constituency. The builder was asked for Rs 6 lakh which he paid. We want to send out a message that we will not tolerate corruption. Therefore, we have decided to remove him as minister and will refer the complaint to CBI,” said Kejriwal.
Khan, who was at the Secretariat on Friday, said he had been asked to submit his resignation at 3.30pm which he had done. “There is a conspiracy against me. I will reveal the truth very soon, maybe as early as Saturday evening. I have not heard the recording and am in a state of shock. The party said that till the inquiry is on, I should not be in office,” said Khan.
Other party leaders specially the ones who fell out of AAP were reported saying that this corruption charge was brewing for over a week and was not a sudden action, as described by Kejriwal. Others were heard saying that the tainted MLA had already tendered his resignation much ahead of the presser. The graft case is under investigation amidst political war of words.