Bhartiya Janata Party leader Praveen Shankar Kapoor has filed a defamation case against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Cabinet minister Atishi in connection with poaching allegations made by leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday.

On January 27, Kejriwal alleged that the BJP had offered Rs 25 crore each to seven Aam Aadmi Party MLAs to quit Delhi’s ruling party and topple his government.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi alleged on the same day that the BJP had launched “Operation Lotus 2.0” in Delhi. “They had made a similar attempt to poach AAP MLAs last year by offering them money but failed.”

On April 2, Atishi alleged in a press conference that the BJP had asked her to join the party or she would be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in one month.

In his complaint submitted to Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Tanya Bamniyal, Kapoor, who is the media head of BJP’s Delhi unit, said that the allegations are “false and unsubstantiated”, reported Live Law.

“They [AAP leaders] are trying to portray that the BJP is trying to subvert the government by illegal means,” advocate Amit Tiwari, representing Kapoor, told the court.

Referring to Kejriwal’s social media post on January 27 and Atishi’s April 2 press conference, he said: “Whenever Enforcement Directorate approached the AAP leaders in relation to the excise policy case, baseless allegations were made by them…to play the victim card.

He said the Aam Aadmi Party had “damaged the reputation of the BJP”.

After watching the video of Atishi’s press conference, the court scheduled the matter for pre-summoning on May 4.

On April 3, the BJP Delhi unit sent a defamation notice to Atishi demanding a public apology for her claim that the Hindutva party attempted to coerce her into defecting to it.

Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva, speaking at a press conference, had said that Atishi “failed to provide evidence of who approached her, how and when”.

Sachdeva had said that the Delhi minister should submit her phone to an investigating agency to prove her allegation, failing which she should withdraw her “false, defamatory and concocted” statement that he claimed was uttered with malafide intent.

Tiwari told the court, “If they [the AAP] genuinely had any evidence, they would come forward with it”.

Atishi’s claims and the BJP’s response have come after the arrest of Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the liquor excise policy case.

Apart from Kejriwal, the Enforcement Directorate had also arrested former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in the case. On April 2, the Supreme Court granted bail to Singh after the agency said the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s custody was no longer required.