HC asks centre to look into AAP's accounts

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the central government to go through the accounts of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to ascertain the source of its funds, and check if there was violation of law in the receipt of funding.

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and V.K. Rao asked the centre's counsel to file a status report on the issue after looking afresh into the accounts of the party. The court has posted the matter for hearing Dec 10.

The court said: "Go through the accounts again after the AAP was formed and in case you find anything in violation of FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010) take action, or inform the court about the status."

The court's direction came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking registration of a criminal case against AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and others for allegedly receiving foreign funds in violation of law.

The centre's standing counsel Richa Kapoor Wednesday also filed a report before the court, saying an evaluation of the accounts of the civil society team led by Anna Hazare was done in 2012, and a report was filed before another bench of this court in January this year in a similar PIL filed by the petitioner earlier.

Taking the centre's report on record, the bench asked the counsel to go through the details of funds given by donors to AAP since its inception Nov 26, 2012.

The court Oct 11 told the centre to submit the inquiry report prepared by it earlier on a similar complaint against the earlier civil society group.

The centre had told the bench that the issue raised in this PIL had already been investigated, and a report had been prepared by the government earlier.

The plea was filed by advocate M.L. Sharma, who also sought seizure of accounts and funds secured by members of AAP.

"A direction to be issued to register a criminal case against the respondents (AAP members) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and conduct of day-to-day trial proceedings with the supervision of the court, in the interest of justice," sought the plea, naming Kejriwal, advocates Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan and party member Manish Sisodia.

The plea said the FCRA prohibits funding from foreign countries for a political party.

However, Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the respondents in the case, contended that "the petition is mala fide, and in the earlier report also, the government had not found anything against the civil society team".

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