AAP's claim that Delhi's corruption level has reduced during its 49-day rule is proving to be embarrassing one, as Shazia Ilmi, AAP's spokesperson has said that she never spoke to any Hindustan Times reporter.
Hindustan Times on Monday reported citing Shazia Ilmi's statement that the corruption level was down. The report suggested that the AAP leader cited Transparency International's report while making such claims. Read the HT story here (Turn to Page 2 of Delhi Edition for 17 February).
However, Transparency International, on Monday denied having undertaken any such research or reports and said in a statement that the story that appeared on second page of Hindustan Times on Monday was a false news. In the piece written by HT's Ritam Halder, AAP leader Shazia Ilmi was quoted as saying that Transparency International had found that corruption level has gone down.
In a fresh turn of events on Tuesday, Ilmi tweeted several times that she had never spoken to the reporter of the newspaper. She, however, insisted that "an agency" had found corruption level was down after AAP came to power. In her tweets, she did not cite Transparency International, but insisted that "every one" knows that corruption level was down.
"Transparency International, in a report which hasn't been released in India yet, says that in the past 45 days corruption has gone down in Delhi. This is by itself an achievement of AAP," HT had quoted her as saying.
Ilmi's claim that she had never spoken to the reporter is, however, irrelevant as the article never states that she had made the statement directly to the newspaper. Ilmi was instead quoted as making that statement "on a sunny Sunday afternoon while addressing a gathering of 200-odd people at RK Puram Sector 1 main market".
Rubbishing the report, Transparency International said that the information the paper has quoted Ilmi "is factually incorrect".
"The information shared by Ms Shazia Ilmi is factually incorrect. We have not undertaken any study on corruption in Delhi and so there is no question of any such published or unpublished report," Ashotosh Kumar Mishra of the Transparency International India, said in the statement.
"We also request you all media houses to take comments/feedback from TII before publishing any news that is directly or indirectly linked to TII."
Even if Ilmi distances herself from the statement, the same claim was also made by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal himself on Monday, an incident that is likely to only add to the ever growing embarrassment for AAP.
Kejriwal claimed during a CII meet on Monday quoting the same unpublished report by the global corruption watchdog that corruption was down in the Delhi Jal Board during his rule.
Outraged public have taken to twitter to express their views after discovering that the Transparency International cited by AAP was a hoax after all.
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