The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses from AAP and its founding members, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on a plea for registration of a criminal case on the ground that the newly formed party allegedly received foreign funding in violation of various laws.
“Let a copy of this writ petition be supplied to Prashant Bhushan who appeared on behalf of Aam Aadmi Party. Let a response be filed four days prior to February 28, the next date of hearing,” a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.
Mr. Bhushan, who has also been made a party in the petition besides AAP, accepted the notice and strongly opposed the earlier submissions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the party and its leaders have not responded to the queries on foreign funding.
“A misleading statement was made on behalf of the government counsel on the last date of the hearing that we have not responded to the queries. Each and every query has been responded to in great detail,” he said.
Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, appearing for MHA, said, “I did not say that they (AAP) are not providing information. What I had said was that the information regarding the bank details was not provided.”
“You had said that,” the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on February 28. The Centre had earlier told the court that AAP leaders, including Mr. Kejriwal, had not provided the information sought by it on the funding received by the party.
Besides Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Bhushan, petitioner advocate M.L. Sharma has made AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Shanti Bhushan as parties in his PIL.
The bench earlier asked Mr. Sharma to also implead AAP as one of the respondents in his PIL.
The High Court said the Centre should look “afresh” into the accounts of AAP to find out the source of money received by it after its inception.
The order came after the Centre filed a report in which it said that an evaluation of the accounts of civil society of Team Anna was done in 2012 and a report was filed before another bench of the high court last year in a similar PIL filed by the petitioner.
The Centre earlier submitted before the court that the issue raised by the petitioner in his PIL was already investigated and a report was prepared on them by the government.
Mr. Sharma, in his plea, had cited some names including that of Mr. Kejriwal and sought that “a direction be issued to register a criminal case against the respondents (AAP members) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and to conduct day-to-day trial proceedings under court supervision in the interest of justice”.