NEW DELHI — In an unprecedented move, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday sacked his Food Minister Asim Ahmed Khan on charges of corruption, making the announcement at a highly dramatic press conference. This is latest scandal to hit the Aam Aadmi Party, reeling under a series of controversies, including the arrest of its MLA Somnath Bharti on charges of domestic violence.
"We got a complaint yesterday, we assessed it all night and came to the decision that we are removing him (Khan) from his position," Kejriwal told reporters in Delhi, sending the clear message that corruption will not be tolerated.
Kejriwal said he has referred Khan's case to CBI. The Chief Minister took the decision after examining an audio clip of a purported conversation between the Food Minister and a builder. Khan was allegedly heard asking for a bribe.
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"We received a complaint last night that a building was being built in his constituency. It's construction was stopped and money was demanded from the builder, who paid the amount. There was a mediator between the MLA and the Minister," the Chief Minister said.
Kejriewal challenged BJP to follow suit by removing Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their alleged involvement in graft.
A situation of "No Option" can never be converted into a "Virtue" ..AAP getting exposed on a weekly basis !!— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) October 9, 2015
"We will not spare anyone be it Minister, MLA or officer. Just give us evidence and we will remove the culprit the moment such charges are brought to our notice," the Chief Minister said.
BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra dismissed the CM's action saying that "the evidence was incriminating".
"One-third of the AAP politicians have allegations of corruption against them. Instead of taking high moral ground, Kejriwal should show remorse. There was no trace of remorse on Kejriwal's face," said Delhi Congress Committee President Ajay Maken. (With inputs from PTI)