Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kerala unit chief K Surendran has refuted allegations that he paid a Rs 10-lakh bribe to suspended Janathipathya Rashtriya Party leader CK Janu to return to the National Democratic Alliance, The New Indian Express reported on Thursday.

The clarification came after a telephone conversation between Janathipathya Rashtriya Party’s Kerala unit Treasurer Praseetha Azheekode and Surendran emerged on Wednesday. In the clip, Azheekode is heard asking Surendran for Rs 10 lakh and the Sultan Bathery constituency for the party’s return to the NDA.

The JRP leader also alleged that apart from Rs 10 lakh, the BJP had provided lakhs to Janu for the Kerala Assembly election campaign.

“As per our telephonic conversation, Rs 10 lakh was handed over to Janu on March 6 in Thiruvananthapuram on the sidelines of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s election campaigning there,” Praseetha told The New Indian Express. Earlier, Janu had reportedly asked for Rs 10 crore, five seats and a central ministership for coming back to the NDA fold.

Praseetha and JRP’s Kerala unit Secretary Prakashan Morazha said Janu and the BJP had betrayed their party. The JRP state treasurer said that Janu had contested under the BJP’s symbol in Sultan Bathery, which was against the party’s approval.

“She had declared earlier that she would prefer death over holding the lotus [BJP symbol],” he claimed. “Janu decided to contest under the lotus symbol in the eleventh hour of filing nomination and without discussing it in the party.”

Janu, however, denied the allegations against her and said she will seek legal recourse. “I haven’t entrusted anyone to take money on my behalf,” she said, according to The News Minute. “To get money from Surendran, I don’t need a middle person like Praseetha. I have contacts with anyone in Kerala. I can even contact Amit Shah. These are baseless allegations.”

Surendran claimed that neither did Janu ask him for money, nor did he offer any, reported NDTV. “If this is in relation to elections, she was our [BJP’s] candidate,” he said. “Money is needed for various activities. And we have established processes for that.”

The Kerala unit chief of the BJP said that the controversy is “an attempt of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other anti-BJP” parties to tarnish the saffron party’s reputation.

The party meanwhile said that Jena or the BJP can “file any case they want”, adding: “That will lead to a probe and many other realities will emerge. The money was meant for the party, but the party did not receive it.”

Last week, the JRP suspended Janu from the party’s Kerala president position as well as its primary membership after alleged misappropriation of election funds.

The Kerala Assembly elections were held in a single phase on April 6 and the results were declared on May 2.