Suspended councillor to take on Cong. nominee

NEW DELHI OCT. 10. The municipal Councillor from R.K. Puram, Hiren Tokas, who was suspended by the Congress earlier this year after he was arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting Rs. 20,000 as bribe, today announced that he would contest the forthcoming Assembly elections as an independent if the party fielded its sitting MLA, Ashok Singh.

Addressing a press conference here -- the first one after he was released from Tihar Jail a few months ago --, Mr. Tokas alleged that Mr. Singh had done no developmental work in the constituency during his tenure.

"I am still a dedicated soldier of the Congress party. Mr. Singh has done great harm to the party during his tenure as MLA from R.K. Puram. He has levelled charges against senior party leaders including the Delhi Chief Minister and close associate of the party president, Sonia Gandhi. If he is given party ticket, then I will contest the Assembly elections as an independent from R.K. Puram," he said.

Mr. Tokas -- who till the municipal elections of March 2002 was a close associate of Mr. Singh -- alleged that the R.K. Puram MLA was responsible for getting him arrested by the CBI in a fabricated case. "Actually he was demanding Rs. 30 lakhs for getting me the party ticket for the municipal elections. This I refused. Thereafter he began to harass my family, and me. We also received threatening calls from his supporters," he claimed. Mr. Singh has already denied the charges.

Mr. Tokas distributed a number of documents in support of his allegations against Mr. Singh.