Chhotepur rejects panel, dares AAP to make video public
CHANDIGARH: A day after he was removed as Punjab convenor of AAP, Sucha Singh Chhotepur today rejected the panel set up by the party to probe allegations against him and dared the leadership to make public the video in which he was shown accepting money from a ticket aspirant.
He also hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party leadership for "orchestrating" the sting operation against him and claimed that AAP leaders sitting in Delhi were collecting "huge sum" of money from volunteers in Punjab and NRIs without issuing receipts to them.
Barely six months ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, AAP yesterday removed 65-year-old Chhotepur as its Punjab convenor, in the wake of the purported video clip in which he was allegedly seen accepting money.
"I was expecting it (the sacking) with the kind of allegation made against me. But I am a little surprised that a committee was formed after taking action against me.
Generally, a committee is formed before taking action against any person in the party," Chhotepur told reporters here today.
"There is no sanctity of this committee as those people have been made part of this panel who wanted me out. They have now become the judge," he said.
"How can I accept this? I will not present myself before the panel as I reject this committee," he added.
After sacking Chhotepur, AAP had announced a two-member panel comprising Jarnail Singh, party's co-convenor in Punjab, and head of administrative and grievance cell Jasbir Singh Bir to probe the complaints against him.
Chhotepur has instead demanded a new panel with suspended MPs Dharamvira Gandhi, Harinder Singh Khalsa and chairman of Punjab dialogue Kanwar Sandhu for conducting "impartial inquiry" in the matter.
He has also dared AAP to make the video public in which he was shown accepting money.
"I want them to show the video," he said, adding, "I was expecting appreciation for putting in heart and soul for two and half years to build the party in Punjab. And now they have done this with me. God will never forgive them."
On the allegations, he said he could not favour any ticket aspirant as he was not even a member of party's Political Affairs Committee, the highest decision making body.
"Only Durgesh Pathak (national organisation building head) has the absolute power," he claimed.
"I was powerless. Those who have the power they get the money. Despite being the convenor, I was never taken into confidence on spending money collected from Punjab. I was never told how much money has been received from abroad. No receipt of money collection was issued," he claimed.
Asked whether he will join Congress, Chhotepur said he has not yet decided on this front. "There is no offer from Congress. I know Captain Amarinder Singh for the last 30 years. Volunteers are my strength. I will go by whatever decision is taken by my supporters. I am not in hurry," he said.
Yesterday Amarinder, while being asked whether Congress would welcome Chhotepur, said, "Congress party's doors are open for everyone whether Chhotepur, Navjot Singh Sidhu (cricketer-turned-politician), Pargat Singh or Inderbir Bolaria (suspended Akali Dal MLAs)".
Chhotepur, who had expressed displeasure ticket distribution by AAP, also claimed that there was strong opposition by volunteers against 25 out of the 32 candidates who have so far been given tickets.
He also hit out at AAP leaders, including MP Bhagwant Mann for just "bowing" before the senior leadership for every decision in order to stay in the party.
Meanwhile, Chhotepur claimed that six Parliamentary zonal coordinators out of total 13 coordinators of the party in Punjab are with him.
He said they are Jasbir Dhaliwal (Anandpur Sahib zone), H S Chhema (Jalandhar zone), Gurinder Bajwa (Amritsar zone), Amardeep Gill (Gurdaspur zone), Iqbal Singh (Khadoor Sahib zone) and Narinderpal Sharma Bhagta (Bathinda zone).