Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday alleged on the floor of the Delhi Assembly that an Adtiya Birla Group company paid a bribe of Rs. 25 crore to the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
The development comes hours after The Hindu reported on a complaint filed by advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan with the Central Board of Direct Taxes pertaining to a set of documents recovered by the Income-Tax Department from the premises of two major industrial houses, detailing alleged massive payouts to prominent politicians.
In the State Assembly, Mr. Kejriwal quoted the statement of Shubhendu Amitabh, the then Group Executive President of Adtiya Birla Management Corporation Pvt. Ltd. (ABMCPL), to the Income-Tax Department on the notes stored in his personal laptop.
The Chief Minister said the facts came out after the CBI made searches in Aditya Birla Group in connection with coal block scam investigation in October 2013, during which the agency seized huge amounts of cash stashed away in its Delhi premises and the Income-Tax Department was informed.
“A back up message dated November 16, 2012, was recovered that stated ‘Gujarat CM-25 cr (12 Done-rest?).’ Hence, it clearly suggested a payment of Rs. 25 crores to the then Gujarat CM. When questioned about this transaction, Amitabh told I-T Dept. that these were purely personal notes. And the first note (reference to note of Gujarat CM being paid Rs. 25 cr) is only to note for my knowledge and consumption — a business development at Gujarat Alkali Chemicals, a company engaged in caustic soda as well,” said Mr. Kejriwal.
The Delhi Chief Minister, who demanded immediate roll-back of the Centre’s move to replace old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, said when the I-T Dept. asked Mr. Amitabh if he or any other company official in any other communication in the past had referred the Group company Alkali Chemicals as “Gujarat CM”, Mr. Amitabh evaded a direct reply.
Mr. Kejriwal then alleged that the I-T Dept. also recovered from Mr. Amitabh’s laptop a list of Birla Group business interests in the State of Gujarat.
The Chief Minister said the Income-Tax Department in its appraisal report February 27, 2014, concluded that Mr. Amitabh gave evasive replies and made unsubstantiated claims when questioned about cash payments made to persons like Project J and Gujarat CM.
Mr. Kejriwal has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the demonetisation scheme, terming it as a fraud. “Is people's money safe in the banks? The money that poor people are depositing in the bank will make these banks rich and they will exit the country like Vijay Mallya,” Mr. Kejriwal said, Mr. Kejriwal accused Mr. Modi of poisoning people's lives.
The Delhi government has also sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention to withdraw the 'draconian' scheme.
Participating in the discussion, AAP’s Okhla MLA Amanatulalh Khan said that Mr. Modi will not understand the pain being faced by families due to demonetisation as “he does not have a wife or children.”
Protesting against Mr. Khan, Leader of the Opposition Vijender Gupta made certain personal allegations relating to Mr. Kejriwal, enraging the AAP MLAs, some of whom came into the Well of the House forcing an adjournment.
Earlier, the members also observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to those who lost lives while standing in queues outsides banks and ATMs to withdraw money. The two BJP MLAs in the Assembly walked out protesting against it.