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Kejriwal Expects “Fair Investigation” into “Both Versions” of Maliwal Episode

Kejriwal Expects “Fair Investigation” into “Both Versions” of Maliwal Episode

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NEW DELHI, May 22: Amidst the former Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal’s fresh allegations that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders were being pressured to speak against her and do certain things to defame her, the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal breaking his silence on Wednesday said he wanted justice and a fair investigation of the incident as it has two versions.

Ms Maliwal, who is also AAP Rajya Sabha MP, accused Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar of slapping and kicking inside the chief minister’s residence on May 13 when Swati Maliwal went to visit him. Bibhav has been arrested while the Aam Aadmi Party stood by Bibhav and called Swati Maliwal a BJP’s stooge.

Delhi minister Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh put forward the party’s stand on this issue so far while Kejriwal maintained his silence on the incident involving one of AAP’s oldest members.

Mr Kejriwal said he was not present at the scene when the assault reportedly took place on May 13 creating a massive political storm in Delhi. He said the matter is subjudice and his comment might affect the proceedings but he expected a fair investigation.

“But I expect there will be a fair investigation. Justice should be served. There are two versions of the event. Police should investigate both versions fairly and justice should be done,” Kejriwal said. Kejriwal also clarified that he was not present at the scene when the assault reportedly happened.

Bibhav Kumar is currently in five-day police custody in connection with the case. He was taken to Mumbai where his phone locations were traced. Police believe Bibhav formatted his phone there.

Maliwal on Wednesday lobbed another big charge at the party claiming that everyone was pressured to leak Maliwal’s personal photos.

“Yesterday I got a call from a big leader of the party. They told me how there is a lot of pressure on everyone, they have to say bad things against Swati, they have to break her by leaking her personal photos. It is being said that anyone who supports her will be expelled from the party,” Maliwal wrote on an X post.

“Someone has got the duty of doing press conference and someone has got the duty of tweeting. It is someone’s duty to call the volunteers sitting in America and get something out against me,” she added.

The alleged assault on Ms Maliwal has prompted attacks on the AAP and Mr Kejriwal from the BJP. The party’s president, JP Nadda, had also questioned Mr Kejriwal’s silence on the issue and said it showed his “double character and dual standards.”

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena had also waded into the row on Tuesday and said, “I would have expected that, at least for the sake of propriety, my chief minister would have come clean, rather than being evasive and dodgy. His deafening silence speaks volumes of his stance on safety of women.”

This had prompted a strong response from the AAP which said Mr Saxena’s statement proved that Ms Maliwal “is working for the BJP.” “With the elections on, the BJP is bringing a new conspiracy daily, from liquor scam to Swati Maliwal to foreign funding. The BJP is losing badly, so they are trying to revive their prospects by using the Swati Maliwal issue,” the party said.

Ms Maliwal in her post said, “I am not angry with them (AAP leaders), the accused is a very powerful man. Even the biggest leaders are afraid of him. No one has the courage to take a stand against him. I don’t even expect anything from anyone. I feel sad that the woman minister of Delhi is smilingly maligning the character of an old female colleague of the party,” she said. “I have started a fight for my self-respect, I will continue to fight until I get justice. I am completely alone in this fight but I will not give up!” the post concluded.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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