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Delhi Police Claims CCTV Footage of Maliwal Assault Tampered with, Bibhav Kumar’s Mobile Formatted

Delhi Police Claims CCTV Footage of Maliwal Assault Tampered with, Bibhav Kumar’s Mobile Formatted

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 19:  A Delhi Police team on Sunday collected from the official residence of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal electronic devices including CCTV DVR (digital video recorder) to potentially get the footage of the alleged assault on the former Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on May 13 when Bibhav Kumar, Kejriwal’s close aide, allegedly attacked her.

Ms Maliwal has alleged that the CCTV footage of the CM’s residence was being tampered with. Kumar was arrested on Saturday and produced in a court which remanded him in five-day police custody. The sources said Kumar was evasive in his replies during his interrogation.

Delhi Police have also said Bibhav Kumar may have been involved in tampering with the CCTV footage of the Chief Minister’s home to destroy evidence. Kumar has also formatted his phone, Delhi cops have said in the remand note.

The Delhi Police booked Kumar for molestation and attempted culpable homicide after Ms Maliwal’s complaint. The FIR included charges under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354(B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 509 (word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code at the Civil Lines police station.

The Delhi police also thwarted an attempt by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders led by Mr Kejriwal to march towards the BJP headquarters to court arrest in protest against the arrest of Bibhav Kumar on “fake charges” of molestation of Ms Maliwal. The AAP had alleged that Ms Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha member of the AAP, was being blackmailed by the BJP and use her as the face to malign Mr Kejriwal.

The Delhi Police had tightened the security in and around the BJP headquarters in view of the protest march announced by Mr Kejriwal on Saturday. The Delhi Police also detained several AAP workers as they marched towards the BJP headquarters as part of the planned ‘Jail Bharo’ protest.

DCP Delhi Central, Harsha Vardhan Mandava said, “Based on the information we received through social media and other channels, we have made preventive arrangements on DDU Marg to ensure that the law and order are maintained at all costs. We are focused and committed to making adequate security deployments and have barricades in place to ward off any attempt to disrupt law and order.” “Section 144 has been imposed on DDU Marg and there is no permission for any kind of protest here,” he said.

Addressing the party workers before launching the march, Mr Kejriwal alleged that the BJP had started an ‘Operation Jhaadu’ to arrest all the AAP leaders and workers in one sweep to crush the Aam AAP since it was rising too fast. Jhaadu or broom is the party symbol of the AAP.

He also claimed to have information that the AAP’s bank accounts would be frozen after the polls and the party office sealed to bring the AAP “on the roads.”

“The BJP has started ‘Operation Jhaadu’ so that we don’t grow big and become a challenge to them. Through ‘Operation Jhaadu’, AAP’s big leaders will be arrested; they are being arrested, and in the coming days, AAP’s bank accounts will be frozen,” said Arvind Kejriwal.

“ED’s lawyer has already given this statement in court that soon after the election, AAP’s bank accounts will be frozen. He said if they freeze our account now, we will get sympathy. After the election, they will freeze our accounts, our office will be cleared out, and we will be brought to the streets. These are the three plans made by the BJP,” said Kejriwal.

The chief minister claimed that no gold or money has been recovered from him, and the BJP, by creating false cases, got AAP leaders arrested. “Since I came to power in 2015, how many allegations did they (BJP) raise? Now that they say that the liquor policy scam has happened, people are asking them if the scam happened and where the money is. In other places, when raids happen, notes and gold are recovered, but here nothing was found. Where is all the money? They (BJP) made fake cases and arrested our people,” Arvind Kejriwal pointed out. On Saturday, addressing a press conference, Arvind Kejriwal accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “playing the game” of sending AAP leaders such as Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, and Sanjay Singh to jail.

“They are after our party and sending our leaders in jail one after another… Today you have sent my PA (Bibhav Kumar) to jail,” Arvind Kejriwal said, adding the BJP is saying they will send AAP MP Raghav Chadha and Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to jail too.

“I along with my MLAs and MPs would go to the BJP office at noon tomorrow so that the prime minister can send anyone he wants to jail,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

Hitting out at the AAP protest march over the political row surrounding her alleged assault, Ms Maliwal said those who hit the streets for justice for the Delhi gangrape victim are now doing so to protect an accused. Referring to the protest in the wake of the 2012 Delhi gangrape-murder, Ms Maliwal posted on X, “There was a time when he hit the streets to get justice for Nirbhaya. Twelve years later, they are hitting the streets to save an accused who deleted CCTV footage and formatted the phone.”

In her post, Ms Maliwal also said this would not have happened to her if Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister, was not in jail. “I wish they had tried so hard for Manish Sisodia. If he was here, maybe something so bad would not have happened to me,” she said. Mr Sisodia, who is among AAP’s top leaders, is in jail for over a year in connection with a money laundering case linked to Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy.

Accusing Mr Modi to be the mastermind behind the “crush AAP” move, Mr Kejriwal said, the “BJP thinks that this way they can do away with us. No. That cannot happen, this is not a party but a force of 140 crore people who have done immense work in Punjab, Delhi and across the country that people must not have seen in the past 75 years,” he added.

“We have provided free electricity and water, we have saved money with honesty and made electricity free. These things BJP has never done and cannot do as they are dishonest,” Mr Kejriwal claimed. On AAP’s achievements in governance, Mr Kejriwal stated, “We have worked on schools, clinics; everywhere we have fostered a good spirit and thought. You cannot bring down such ideology. You cannot trap or stop such ideology. It is spreading across the nation. You arrest one Kejriwal and 1,000 Kejriwals will be born in this country.”

The Delhi Chief Minister also addressed various allegations made by the BJP in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam. “If there was a liquor scam, then where is the money seized? Even in the Supreme Court, they said they have not been able to recover anything. How is it possible that if it is a scam of crores, you have not recovered even ₹ 1,000?” he questioned.

He further criticised Prime Minister Modi for labelling him a “Khalistani politician” during a rally, describing such tactics as shameful and indicative of the lengths the BJP will go to malign its opponents. “PM Modi said at a rally that Kejriwal is a Khalistani politician, if this is what a PM has to say to woo voters then it is shameful. Just see how many more made-up stories PM Modi will brew now. BJP will go to any ends and will stoop lower,” Mr Kejriwal claimed.

“There will be bigger challenges ahead. Please be ready to face them. Remember one thing we faced many challenges in the past. We have the blessings of Lord Hanuman and God. We would have not survived these. Walk on the path of truth. We want to work for the society,” he told them.




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