Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday removed Sucha Singh Chhotepur as the party's Punjab convenor over allegations that he took bribe from a ticket aspirant.
AAP's highest decision making body, the Political Affairs Committee, took the decision in a meeting at the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence.
Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann told reporters that Chhotepur will be given a chance to explain his stand to the party leadership and his case has been referred to a two-member committee comprising Jasbir Singh and the AAP Punjab joint in-charge Jarnail Singh.
"The allegation is that Chhotepur sought Rs 60 lakh from from a ticket aspirant and the deal was fixed at Rs 30 lakh. The person has already paid him Rs 4 lakh, of which Chhotepur returned Rs 3 lakh. He kept the rest of the amount with him," Mann said.
Meanwhile, Chhotepur, in a conference at Chandigarh, said, "I am saddened that the party, instead of defending me has levelled allegations against me."
On the purported sting operation against him, Chhotepur said it was a conspiracy hatched by my own friends within the party.
21 AAP leaders from Punjab had on Thursday shot off a letter to party's national convenor Kejriwal asking him to immediately sack Chhotepur from the party after a controversy erupted over a video clip allegedly showing him taking money.
"I have 40 years of political career. I am honest and a simple farmer. I am ready for CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe on allegations of bribe. If found guilty they (AAP leadership) can hang me," Chhotepur said.
He said that he fought elections for the seat of MLA, MP and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee general House, but it was always his well wishers who gave him funds.
"I never asked for money from anyone," he said.
Hitting out at the AAP leadership, he said that he raised the party in Punjab by toiling hard, but he was never given funds for the work.
"There is no state committee in Punjab, no treasurer, I am a state convenor but the AAP leader Durgesh Pathak always ignored me," he said.
"For the past one month Durgesh is not talking to me," he said while claiming that this happened when he once told him in Amritsar that party volunteers are of the opinion that tickets will be sold.
Citing a Delhi meeting, he said that he had openly said in the meeting that the power centre is Durgesh. "He is distributing tickets," he said.
Chhotepur, who had shown dissent on first list of 21 AAP candidates, said that he was in favour of honest person getting the party ticket.
Rejecting that he was a candidate for the CM post, he said, "I was never a candidate for the CM post. I am a simple and honest man."
On his next course of action, he said that it would be decided by the voluteers.
"It is the volunteers who will decide whether I am a thief or a honest person. I don't need certificate from them (AAP leadership)," he said.
He said that it was unfortunate that when a party convenor meets the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister (Manish Sisodia) the entire thing is recorded. "He is a spy," he said.
He said that he would not leave the AAP. "Rather I will strive hard for the party," he said.