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Delhi LG Recommends NIA Probe against Kejriwal

Delhi LG Recommends NIA Probe against Kejriwal

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 6: More trouble may be awaiting the arrested Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. A day before the Supreme Court was set consider interim bail to him in view of the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Kejriwal is likely to be facing a fresh probe, this time by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), for his Aam Aadmi Party’s alleged “terror link.”

In an explosive turn of events Monday, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has called for an anti-terror probe into allegations Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly receiving political funding from banned extremist organisation Sikhs for Justice group founded by wanted terrorist Gurpatwant Pannun.

Mr Kejriwal’s AAP hit back swiftly via senior leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, who dismissed the call for a probe by the NIA as a “conspiracy” against the party and its leader. “LG sir is an agent of the BJP… This is another big conspiracy against Chief Minister Kejriwal at the behest of the BJP,” he said in a brief statement. “BJP had hatched this conspiracy even before Punjab Assembly elections,” he added.

The allegations – the latest in a long-running and fierce war between the AAP and the BJP in power at the centre – come less than three weeks before the national capital votes in the general election. In 2019 the BJP won Delhi’s all seven seats.

In a detailed letter to the Union Home Secretary, Mr Saxena referred to a video (which he said was enclosed with the missive) in which Pannun declares Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party “received a staggering amount of $16 million in funding from Khalistani groups…”

“… Kejriwal purportedly promised to facilitate release of Devender Pal Bhullar, in return for substantial financial backing from Khalistani factions to Aam Aadmi Party…” the LG’s letter said, citing a complaint from a Hindu religious body and tweets by a former AAP worker. The AAP boss also reportedly received money to “espouse pro-Khalistani sentiments.”

The complaint in this regard was filed by Ashoo Mongia of the World Hindu Federation. In his recommendation to the Union Home Secretary, Saxena has stated that since the complaint is made against a sitting Chief Minister and relates to political funding received from a banned extremist organisation, “the electronic evidences adduced by the complainant requires investigation including forensic examination.”

Saxena has also referred to the MHA a letter written by Kejriwal to Iqbal Singh in January 2014, mentioning that “the AAP Government has already recommended to the President the release of Professor Bhullar and would be working on other issues including formation of SIT, etc. sympathetically and in a time-bound manner.” The complaint also refers to a video released by Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, where he has alleged that Kejriwal-led AAP received $16 million from Khalistani groups between 2014 and 2022.

Bhullar, a former professor, was convicted in the 1993 Delhi bomb blasts case. He was convicted in connection with the killing of nine people and injuring 31 others in a blast outside the Youth Congress headquarters in Delhi. He was arrested after deportation from Germany. In Tihar jail since 1995, Bhullar was awarded death penalty by a designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court in August 2001 but his capital punishment was commuted to life sentence in 2014.

Arvind Kejriwal is already in jail over corruption charges linked to the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam that is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation. Mr Kejriwal and the AAP have denied all charges, labelling them acts of “political vendetta” by the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Mr Kejriwal has challenged his arrest – he was arrested March 21 – in the Supreme Court. The top court, which is still hearing the case, has said it will consider bail for Mr Kejriwal so he can campaign for his party for the forthcoming Delhi election. The hearing in the case is scheduled to come up on Tuesday.



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