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ED alleges foreign funding for AAP from eight countries, submits report to Home Ministry

The ED's comprehensive report outlined significant foreign funding to AAP, revealing systematic violations of legal provisions intended to regulate foreign contributions to political parties in India. The case underscored the ongoing scrutiny of political funding and compliance with national laws.

Reported By : Atul Bhatia Edited By : Nitin Kumar
New Delhi
Updated on: May 20, 2024 21:35 IST
Arvind Kejriwal AAP
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO Delhi CM and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal with AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha during a meeting at the party office, in New Delhi.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reported to the Home Ministry that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received foreign funding totaling Rs 7.08 crore between 2014 and 2022. This funding reportedly came from countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Oman, violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), Representation of the People Act (RPA), and Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Concealment of donor identities

The ED claimed AAP concealed the real identities of donors to circumvent restrictions on foreign funding for political parties. Funds were deposited directly into AAP’s IDBI bank account and accounts of party leaders, including MLA Durgesh Pathak.

Durgesh Pathak's involvement

Investigations revealed that Durgesh Pathak collected funds from an event in Canada in 2016 and used the money for personal benefit. Multiple donations from the same passport numbers, credit cards, email IDs, and mobile numbers were identified, indicating coordinated efforts to bypass legal restrictions.

Unveiling through drug cartel investigation

The revelations emerged during an investigation into a smuggling case in Punjab’s Fazilka, where drugs were smuggled from Pakistan to India. Documents detailing AAP's foreign funding were found during a search of premises linked to AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Admissions and data analysis

Khaira admitted to foreign fundraising campaigns in the USA before the 2017 Punjab assembly elections. National Secretary Pankaj Gupta, summoned by the ED, acknowledged AAP's receipt of foreign funds through checks and online portals. Analysis of Gupta’s data indicated violations of foreign donation laws, with multiple donors using shared passport numbers and mobile numbers.

AAP refutes allegation of illegally receiving foreign funds

On Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) denied allegations of illegally receiving foreign funds, calling it "a new conspiracy by the BJP" aimed at discrediting the Kejriwal government during the Lok Sabha polls.

AAP leaders Atishi and Sandeep Pathak held a joint press conference to address the issue. They accused the BJP of resurrecting old allegations to attack the party and suggested that more such claims would emerge as elections in Delhi approach.

Atishi stated, "This is a deliberate attempt by the BJP to tarnish our image. As the elections near, they are resorting to baseless accusations." Pathak echoed her sentiments, emphasizing that AAP remains focused on governance and public service despite these distractions.

AAP Overseas India and fundraising goals

The investigation revealed the establishment of AAP Overseas India, which managed fundraising in various countries. Volunteers were tasked with raising Rs 50 crore in 2016. Significant donations were received through Canadian mobile numbers and email IDs, with efforts made to conceal the donors' identities and citizenships, violating FCRA and RPA provisions.

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