Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi has offered to withdraw her candidature from Delhi assembly elections after a media portal claimed to have done a sting operation on her and the party's other senior leaders and alleged they were involved in "raising funds through illegal means."
"It is an extremely important fight for AAP. But because of the underhand shoddy sting operation, I will not allow my party's image to be sullied. I offer to withdraw my candidature and not contest elections until and unless my name is cleared", Ilmi said.
The sting operation, conducted by Media Sarkar, alleged several leaders of AAP, who were contacted for their help in recovery of money from individuals and getting land deals done, readily agreed to extend their support in return for donations in cash to AAP.
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal dismissed the sting operation as a "conspiracy" against his party but said it will not compromise on the issue of corruption.
"We will not spare anyone if found guilty," he said, adding he knew who were behind it as BJP and Congress have been "routed" by AAP.
The video purportedly showed a reporter meeting Ilmi posing as a representative of a company and sought her help to teach a lesson to a rival company.
Initially, Ilmi refused to help the reporter without legal documents but later allegedly agreed to help her even without documents when the reporter offered her donations in cash.
Ilmi is also shown in the video allegedly telling the reporter that the party accepts donations in cash.
The sting operations were also done on AAP leader Kumar Vishwas and candidates from Kondli (Manoj Kumar), Sangam Vihar (Dinesh Mohaniya), Okhla (Irfan Ullah Khan), Rohtas Nagar (Mukesh Hooda), Deoli (Prakash) and Palam (Bhawna Gaur).
Reacting to allegations of funds misuse by AAP, BJP leader V K Malhotra said the sting operation has "exposed AAP totally".
"Earlier also Anna Hazare condemned them for taking all this money which was collected at Hazare's agitation for election purpose.
"Elections are in Delhi but money is coming from USA, UK and other places. If they take money from outside and contest election in Delhi, then tomorrow they can sell India's interest also by taking foreign money," said Malhotra.
Ilmi is a candidate of AAP from RK Puram assembly constituency.
After the sting operation, AAP convened an emergency meeting of its political affairs committee which decided to take action against the candidates within 24 hours after going through the CD of the sting operation.
"We will decide in 24 hours on the issue after going through content of the CD," Aam Admi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said after the meeting.