AAP got Rs 7 crore foreign funding, violated FCRA: ED tells Home Ministry

The AAP vehemently dismissed the allegations and asserted it was a political conspiracy to defame the party.
Enforcement Directorate.
Enforcement Directorate.Photo | PTI, File

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate has written to the Union Home Ministry alleging that the Aam Aadmi Party has received more than Rs 7 crore foreign funds in contravention of the FCRA, official sources said on Monday.

According to the sources, the Home Ministry was informed in August 2023 about the FCRA violations by the AAP in receiving foreign funds and it is understood that the ED recently shared some fresh inputs in the case.

The AAP vehemently dismissed the allegations and asserted it was a political conspiracy to defame the party. "The BJP is set to lose all seats in Punjab and Delhi. They are deliberately targeting the AAP. This is an old matter in which we have already given clarification to all the agencies including the Election Commission. The BJP does this before elections. Modi ji is afraid of Arvind Kejriwal," Delhi minister Atishi said.

As per the sources, the FCRA violations and other irregularities emerged during the investigation in a case registered in Fazilka district in Punjab against an international drugs cartel involved in smuggling of heroin from Pakistan through the border fence.

In the case, former Punjab AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira was made an accused after some incriminating documents containing details of foreign donations were found by the ED. Khaira, who was with the AAP at that time, was arrested by the ED in 2021. He later joined the Congress.

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The official said that the federal probe agency, in its investigation, came across several instances of irregularities in collection of foreign funds by AAP and its leaders and accused some of them including AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak of siphoning off the funds collected during a fund-raising event in Canada in 2016.

The officer said that the probe agency substantiated the allegations through the contents of e-mails exchanged between various AAP volunteers and functionaries including Aniket Saxena (Coordinator of AAP Overseas India), Kumar Vishwas (then Convenor of AAP Oversea India, Kapil Bhardwaj (AAP Member) and Pathak.

The investigations so far revealed that not only were the amounts collected through fund-raising campaigns in the US and Canada but also the identities of actual donors were concealed in the books of accounts maintained by the AAP in order to circumvent the restrictions imposed under FCRA.

Sources said the ED found that the AAP received overseas donations of about Rs 7.08 crore till now and it allegedly "mis-declared and manipulated" the identities and nationalities of the foreign donors apart from some other details.

As per the source, the ED has shared all the information with the Union Home Ministry gathered during the investigation including names of donors, country of donors, passport numbers, amount donated, mode of donation and bank account numbers of receivers, billing names, billing addresses, billing telephone numbers, billing e-mail, time & date of donation and payment gateway used.

The official informed that the probe also revealed that the AAP has set up a body viz. AAP Overseas India along with volunteers in countries like USA, Canada, Australia etc, whose primary task was to mobilize foreign funds to AAP India. "It is also revealed that a target of overseas donation of Rs 50 crores was fixed for these volunteers in the year 2016," he said.

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