'BJP continuing with Operation Lotus to break AAP': Sisodia on Amanatullah Khan's arrest

Khan, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Okhla, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Branch on Friday in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board recruitment.

Published: 17th September 2022 10:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2022 10:28 AM   |  A+A-

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia addresses a press conference in New Delhi, on August 6, 2022.

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia. (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: Reacting to Waqf Board chairman Amanatullah Khan's arrest, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday accused the BJP of continuing with its "Operation Lotus" to "break" the AAP leaders.

Khan, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Okhla, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Branch on Friday in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board recruitment, officials said.

They said that during the searches, the ACB team was allegedly attacked by the relatives and other persons known to the Okhla MLA outside his residence.

The anti-corruption agency seized Rs 24 lakh in cash as well as two unlicensed weapons during the operation, the officials said.

The Aam Aadmi Party backed the MLA, calling his arrest "a new conspiracy" of the BJP to implicate him in "a fake case and defame" the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.

"AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan has been arrested in a fake and completely baseless case. Nothing was recovered from either his residence or office," the party said in a statement.

According to a communication released by the ACB, it had summoned Khan in a case pertaining to alleged financial misappropriation and other irregularities in the functioning of the Delhi Waqf Board, which Khan heads as its chairman.

An FIR was already registered in connection with the alleged wrongdoings in the board.

As alleged in the FIR, the ACB's Friday statement said, Khan while working as chairman of Delhi Waqf Board illegally recruited 32 people violating all norms and government guidelines and amid allegations of corruption and favouritism.

The then CEO of Delhi Waqf Board had clearly given a statement and issued a memorandum against such illegal recruitment, the statement said.

"Further, it was alleged that as chairman of Delhi Waqf Board, Khan has rented out a number of properties of the Waqf Board illegally with allegations of corruption and favouritism.

Further, it has been alleged that he has misappropriated the funds of the Waqf Board comprising grants in aid from Delhi government," Additional Commissioner of Police, who heads the ACB, Madhur Verma said.

Her said that from the inputs received while questioning and on the basis of information developed by ACB, four locations were searched.

"From these locations, around Rs 24 lakh cash and two illegal and unlicensed weapons and cartridges and ammunition were recovered."

Outside the residence of Khan, the search team was attacked by the relatives and other persons known to the MLA and they also caused obstruction in discharge of government duty to ACB officers, the ACB statement said.

Two FIRs have been registered by ACB in southeast district pertaining to recovery of illegal weapons and one FIR relating to manhandling of police party by relatives of Khan, the statement said.

"Also, from the questioning of Khan and on the basis of incriminating material and evidences against him and from the recovery during the searches conducted on Friday, he has been arrested in the case of 2020," Verma added.

The ACB had issued a notice to Khan on Thursday for questioning in connection with the Prevention of Corruption Act case registered in 2020.

The Okhla MLA was called for questioning at 12 pm on Friday.

Khan, the chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board, had tweeted about the notice, claiming he has been summoned as he built a new Waqf board office.

Earlier, the ACB had written to the Lieutenant Governor's Secretariat demanding that Khan be removed as the Delhi Waqf Board chairman for allegedly hampering a probe by "bullying" witnesses in a case against him.

"First, they arrested Satyendar Jain but there is no evidence against him in court. They raided my residence. Nothing was found. Then they initiated a fake probe against Kailash Gahlot, and now they arrested Amanatullah Khan. Operation Lotus continues to break each leader of AAP," Sisodia said in a tweet in Hindi.

Earlier, the AAP leaders had alleged that the BJP was trying to buy AAP MLAs by offering them Rs 20 crore each to topple the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi.

The Delhi chief minister even brought a confidence motion in the Assembly last month to prove all the AAP MLAs were with him and asserted that "Operation Lotus" had failed in Delhi.


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