3rd AAP minister under graft cloud

New Delhi : After Jitendra Tomar and Asim Ahmed Khan, who have been removed from the Aam Aadmi Party’s government on account of corruption charges, now a third minister, Imran Hussain, faces accusations that his aides have been demanding a bribe of Rs.25 lakhs from a builder for granting environmental clearances.

“For a party that has been born out of a movement called India Against Corruption’ and has been on the forefront claiming that all political parties are corrupt, this is a sordid track record. In less than a year, nearly half the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet has come under cloud,” said Congress spokesperson and Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken. As Maken played audio and video recordings of the conversations among three persons — Hussain’s aide, his brother and a junior engineer on the one side — and a builder on the other side.

“If Imranbhai is asking for money for these clearances, then he has heavy expenses for maintaining the office, fighting the election and he has even paid to become a minister,” the aide is heard saying. Maken said that with this evidence it becomes imperative that the chief minister sacks Hussain immediately and orders a CBI probe. “All the claims about rooting out corruption in high places now stand totally exposed, and the people have seen the real face of the AAP,” he added.

However, Hussain has denied the charges, saying the bribe-seeker seen in the video is a stranger. “If Maken can prove any of my staff or family member is involved in the sting, I will leave politics,” he added while welcoming the Congress demand for a CBI inquiry as long as it also includes Maken’s role.

Ironically, Hussain’s predecessor in the Environment Ministry was fired in October over alleged venality. At a televised press conference, Chief Minister Kejriwal had dismissed the minister after playing audio tapes that had him asking for a kickback of Rs. 6 lakh from a builder in exchange for allowing him to break construction laws.

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