Amid a heated courtroom battle in the trial of arrested Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan, the Anti Corruption Bureau demanded 14 days of custody to interrogate him while the defence opposed the custody, and refuted all charges of the anti-corruption body saying there’s no evidence to support any of the sensational claims against him. After hearing both sides, Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court sent the MLA to four days of ACB custody.
The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government, which reports to Lt Governor VK Saxena, a representative of the BJP-led government at the centre, had arrested Mr Khan in a two-year-old corruption case related to alleged illegal appointments in the Delhi Waqf Board.
The AAP stood behind the 48-year-old Okhla MLA, calling the charges against him “baseless”.
“Mr Amanatullah Khan while working as Chairman of Delhi Waqf Board illegally recruited 32 persons violating all norms and Govt. guidelines and with allegations of corruption and favoritism. The then CEO of Delhi Waqf Board had clearly given statement and issued memorandum against such illegal recruitment,” said a press release from the anti-corruption office yesterday.
The ACB today said in the court that they had received a complaint about Amanatullah Khan appointing his family members in the Delhi Waqf Board.
“4 teams were formed and when that team reached for investigation, they were attacked,” the ACB informed the court. They also showed a video footage of one of its officers being heckled by a crowd.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Mr Khan, responded that Mr Khan was not present there when the assault happened as he was in the custody of the ACB. Cannot say in the court that Amanatullah Khan assaulted him, he said.
Out of 32 recently appointed in the Delhi Waqf Board, 27 people are close to the MLA, the ACB has claimed.
The ACB said that advertisements were published in the local newspaper regarding the appointment in Waqf board, after which 32 out of 33 position advertised were filled. 27 of these were from Mr Khan’s constituency, Okhla, the anti-corruption body said.
Rs 24 lakhs have been found in yesterday’s search, the ACB claimed, adding that cash entries of Rs 4 crore received by Mr Khan were also found. Mr Khan’s lawyer has rubbished the charge, saying anyone can write any name anywhere.
ACB accused Amanatulah Khan of misusing his position.
“Waqf works for the welfare of the poor, but the MLA has benefited some specific people. It’s unfair,” it said.
Advocate Rahul Mehra said that it is not a temple offering that ACB will take Amanatullah Khan away for 14 days.
“Lakhs of people voted for me, I am a public figure. I was democratically elected, they filed an FIR against me before the election, what was the intent of this, everyone knows,” Mr Mehra said on behalf of the MLA.
“Mr Khan appeared before the ACB for investigation when summoned, didn’t go to the court to stop it, but they arrested him anyway. ACB should disclose when we did not cooperate in the investigation,” he added.
On the charge of benefitting relatives or them being involved in corruption, Mr Khan said that, “if any of my relatives have committed any corruption, even if my son has committed any corruption, am I responsible for that?” “It becomes their responsibility, not mine”.
Lawyer Rahul Mehra further argued that the sitting MLA is not a terrorist, “why are you asking for 14 days remand?”
The Delhi Police had earlier also arrested Amanatullah Khan’s close aide Hamid Ali after a raid.
The ACB had on Friday conducted raids at four premises in connection with alleged irregularities in the recruitment to the Delhi Waqf Board.
Mr Ali’s property was also among those locations the ACB had raided. According to officials, they recovered one unlicensed weapon, Rs 12 lakh in cash, and some cartridges from his premises.