Facing a Central Bureau of Investigation probe over the Delhi excise policy, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday claimed he was "offered the CM's post" by the Bharatiya Janata Party and closure of all cases if he quit the Aam Aadmi Party and joined the saffron outfit.
The BJP hit back, accusing Sisodia, a key aide of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, of trying to deflect attention from corruption charges against him.
The startling claims of Sisodia, who holds education and finance among a host of portfolios in the Delhi government, came days after his house was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation over allegations of corruption in the implementation of the Delhi excise policy.
Northeast Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari asked the AAP leader to name the person who made these offers from the party.
Sisodia, who along with Chief Minister Kejriwal is on a two-day visit to Gujarat to reach out to voters ahead of the assembly polls scheduled for later this year, also played the caste card.
"I have received a message from the BJP -- Leave AAP and join the BJP. We will ensure that all cases by CBI and ED against you are shut. "My reply to BJP -- I am a descendant of Maharana Pratap and a Rajput. I am ready to get beheaded but can never bow down before conspirators and corrupt people. All the cases against me are false. Do whatever you want to do," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Sisodia said he was surprised when someone came to him with a message that he has two offers from the BJP.
"The messenger said one was that all big cases registered against you by CBI-ED will be taken back. The other offer was that I break the party and they will make you chief minister," the AAP leader claimed.
"I gave a clear political answer to them, saying Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is my political guru and I have learnt politics from him. I have not come into politics to be CM or PM," Sisodia said.
"I have received a message from the BJP -- leave the AAP and join the BJP. We will ensure that all cases lodged by the CBI and the ED against you are closed.
"My reply to the BJP -- I am a descendant of Maharana Pratap and a Rajput. I am ready to get beheaded but can never bow down before conspirators and corrupt people. All the cases against me are false. Do whatever you want to do," Sisodia said in a tweet in Hindi.
The deputy CM said cases against him were false.
“I said I know the truth of the CBI and ED cases against me, because these are all false cases. I am an honest man. In fact, I am with the Arvind Kejriwal team because I am a "kattar imandar" (staunchly honest) person. These fake cases are weak, and you can't threaten me with these,” he said at the press conference.
After Sisodia's sensational claims, Kejriwal said this means the CBI-ED raids were attempts to topple his government.
In response to Sisodia's tweet, Kejriwal said: "It means that the CBI and ED raids have nothing to do with the liquor policy and corruption? These raids were carried out only to topple the AAP government in Delhi? Like they have done in other states."
Later, he tweeted: "Operation Lotus fails in Delhi."
Launching a sharp counter-attack, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, at a press conference at its party headquarters in New Delhi, said Kejriwal is frustrated, and "accused no. 1 Manish Sisodia says he has got a message from the BJP".
"I can only say, those whose intentions are faulty, and thinking is small, who can break them (jinki niyat khoti hai aur soch chhoti hai, unko koi kya todega)," Bhatia said in a mocking tone.
He also told reporters that these AAP leaders will "play victim cards and several other cards" now to deflect attention from the corruption charges.
"Questions of corruption have been raised on Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, but Delhi CM running away with goal posts," Bhatia added.
Tiwari tweeted in Hindi to raise questions about these claims: "Manish's phone was taken by CBI. That is what he said. On whose phone did he receive the message or call? Reveal that person's name and get his phone submitted to the CBI."
Sisodia is among 15 people and entities named in an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Delhi excise policy.