Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today hailed the order of the Delhi High Court directing the authorities to take action against Congress and BJP for receiving donations from United Kingdom-based Vedanta Resources' subsidiaries on the ground that it violates laws.
Addressing a press conference, AAP leader and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan said "for the last many years, Congress and BJP have been receiving funding from Vedanta, which is registered in London, and its many subsidiaries are functioning in India."
"The HC in an important judgement has ordered the Centre to initiate immediate action against both Congress and BJP for taking donation from foreign sources which is a criminal offence under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act."
Bhushan alleged central governments under both Congress and BJP gave undue favours to Vedanta and its subsidiaries and in return received donations.
"BJP and Congress governments gave various profits to Vedanta. Multi-crore company Hindustan Zinc and Balco were given to Vedanta at nominal price by the BJP government.
"Then Congress-led UPA government gave iron ore and bauxite mining leases in Odisha and Goa to Vedanta at low price. In return, both have received donations from this company," alleged Bhushan.
Bhushan also raised question on Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement that Vedanta is not a foreign company.
"Shinde has replied that Vedanta is not a foreign company as its main shareholder, Anil Agarwal, although lives abroad, is an Indian citizen.
"Under FRCA, if any company is registered outside country it is a foreign company. The High Court has rejected this argument and said it is a violation of FRCA and ordered the government to initiate action against Congress and BJP," Bhushan said.
A Division Bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath directed the authorities to take appropriate action against BJP and Congress within six months.
The verdict was delivered on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a non-governmental organisation, Association for Democratic Reforms, which had alleged the Home Ministry in its reply has factually admitted the position that fundings came to these parties from Vedanta.
Bhushan said while no action was taken against Congress and BJP for receiving donations and funds from foreign companies, the government is after AAP which he claimed has not received a single penny from abroad.
"The government has never taken any action against them. On the other hand, they are alleging AAP has got foreign funding. AAP has given all the details of the funding on its website, he added.
"For the last one and half years, an inquiry has been going on and the government with magnifying glass is trying to catch hold of a single person with foreign antecedents donating AAP. BJP is also doing the same but they are unsuccessful so far. AAP has not taken a single paise from foreign source," he said.
The other parties have taken crores in donation without a receipt, which is black money. Not only that they have taken money from foreign companies but no action has been taken against them.
In an apparent attack on BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Bhushan said "it is misfortune of the country that such people are dreaming of becoming the PM of India whose party is indulging in such activities."
To a query whether his party has given its reply to the government on foreign funding, senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said "AAP has given its reply to the Home Ministry but it is not ready to accept that a reply has been filed."