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Swati Maliwal Assault Case: Police Arrest Kejriwal’s PA

Swati Maliwal Assault Case: Police Arrest Kejriwal’s PA

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 18: As the Swati Maliwal alleged assault case becoming murkier, the Delhi police on Saturday arrested Bibhav Kumar, the personal assistant of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released another video footage showing the former chief of the Delhi Commission for Women walking properly and her clothes not torn as she was being escorted out of the chief minister’s residence by the security personnel.

Accused of assaulting the party’s Rajya Sabha member, Bibhav Kumar was put under arrest by the Delhi police and later produced him in the court on Saturday. Ms Maliwal in her FIR had alleged that Kumar had assaulted her when she waiting in the drawing room of Mr Kejriwal’s residence on Monday.

Mr Kumar was picked up from the chief minister’s residence by a Delhi Police team around noon, a senior police officer said. He has been taken to the police station for interrogation. His lawyer said that they have not received any information yet from the police, despite sending an email to the authorities assuring full cooperation.

“We’ve not received any information from the police yet. We’ve sent them an e-mail that we will cooperate in the investigation,” Bibhav Kumar’s lawyer Karan Sharma said. The incident has triggered a political storm. The BJP has heavily criticised Mr Kejriwal for his silence, with its spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia even going as far as labelling Mr Kejriwal the “main criminal” due to his apparent inaction during the assault. It also accused the AAP of shielding Mr Kejriwal’s personal secretary despite ample evidence against him.

Another purported video of Ms Maliwal from the day of the incident surfaced online. In the video, a woman security personnel is seen holding Ms Maliwal by her arm while escorting her out of Mr Kejriwal’s residence. As they exit from the main gate, Ms Maliwal frees her arm from the security personnel’s grip.

The first video from the chief minister’s residence, in which Ms Maliwal is seen arguing with security personnel, surfaced on social media on Friday. Later, Delhi minister Atishi said at a press conference that the second video shows that allegations levelled by Ms Maliwal were “false.” “Swati Maliwal wrote in the complaint that she was unable to walk and was screaming in pain after the assault. She wrote that her head hit the centre table and she sustained injuries.

“The CCTV footage from the gate of Kejriwal’s residence shows that Maliwal was walking properly and pushed a female police official away. She can be seen walking properly. Her clothes are not torn and she is not limping,” Atishi said.

An earlier video from the Delhi Chief Minister’s house of the alleged assault incident is also doing rounds on social media in which an altercation can be seen taking place between the staff deployed in the CM’s residence and the AAP Rajya Sabha MP. In the FIR, Ms Maliwal accused Mr Kumar of hitting her in the chest, stomach and the pelvic area with legs.

“I felt absolutely shocked and was screaming for help over and over again. In order to protect myself, I pushed him away with my legs. At that time, he pounced on me, brutally dragged and deliberately pulled my shirt up,” the FIR reads. “Bibhav Kumar did not relent and attacked me by kicking me in my chest, stomach and pelvis area with his legs.”

As part of their investigation, Delhi Police is likely to scan the CCTV cameras at the Chief Minister’s residence. On Friday, the crime scene was also re-created at Mr Kejriwal’s home after the former DCW chief lodged the FIR.

Ms Atishi on Saturday claimed that Ms Maliwal was facing charges in an illegal recruitment case and she was being “blackmailed” by the BJP to become part of the “conspiracy” against the Chief Minister.

It has been 24 hours since Mr Kumar filed a complaint against Ms Maliwal and police are yet to register an FIR. “The Delhi Police is a tool of the BJP and is targeting Mr Kejriwal before the Lok Sabha elections in the national capital using Ms Maliwal,” Ms Atishi charged.

Ms Atishi also alleged that Ms Maliwal went to the chief minister’s residence on Monday without an appointment. “Why did she barge in? Why did she land up at the chief minister’s residence without an appointment? Arvind Kejriwal was busy that day and did not meet her. If he had met her that day, the allegations levelled against Bibhav Kumar could have been levelled against him,” Atishi said. She said Ms Maliwal was made the face of this “conspiracy” by the BJP.

“The BJP has a pattern. First they file cases and then they threaten to send leaders to jail. Swati Maliwal is facing charges in an illegal recruitment case registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch. An FIR has been registered in the case and it is at a stage where she could be arrested. “The BJP blackmailed Maliwal and made her the face of this conspiracy,” the AAP leader charged.

Ms Atishi said if the Delhi Police was impartial, it should also register an FIR on Kumar’s complaint against Ms Maliwal. “Will the Delhi Police register a case of trespassing, breach of security and obstructing a government servant from discharging his duty against her? If the Delhi Police is impartial, it should register an FIR on Bibhav’s complaint. Will it act on his complaint the same way it did on Maliwal’s complaint?” she asked.

“Her call records should be looked into and analysed (to see) which BJP leaders she was in touch with,” she said. The minister said Kumar had filed an application in Tis Hazari court on Friday demanding a copy of the FIR.

“Yesterday, the court kept asking the police to submit a copy of the FIR but the police did not submit it. Today, the police filed an application saying that the FIR is extremely sensitive and they cannot share it with the accused.

“The BJP’s police is saying that we cannot give it to the court and the accused. The FIR is with the media for the last two days but it cannot be shared with the accused. This shows that this conspiracy is being orchestrated at the highest level of the BJP,” she alleged.

She also questioned the delay in Ms Maliwal’s medical examination. “Why did she delay the medical (examination)? In the video that emerged yesterday, she is telling police personnel that she would snatch their jobs. She is challenging them in a loud voice. But this is a topic of unique medical research for the country where the impact of injuries is visible after three days,” she added.

After registering the FIR on Thursday, the Delhi Police took Ms Maliwal for a medical examination at midnight at AIIMS Delhi. She came out of the hospital around 3:15 am. According to her medico-legal certificate (MLC) from AIIMS, Ms Maliwal has “bruises over proximal left leg dorsal aspect of approx size 3×2 cm and right cheek elbow below right eye of approx size 2×2 cm”.

Targeting the AAP, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said it is regrettable that “edited” videos are being circulated on social media groups since Friday in an attempt to “defame” Ms Maliwal who is a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. He also said that now that Kumar has been arrested by police, many “dirty pages” of AAP’s politics will become public.

As part of its probe into the incident, the Delhi Police on Friday took Ms Maliwal to Mr Kejriwal’s residence to recreate the crime scene. Her statement was also recorded before a magistrate at Tis Hazari court.

Police said they have recorded the statement of at least 10 people, including security personnel and other staff at the chief minister’s residence, who were present at the time of the alleged assault on May 13. “He will be produced before a court and police will seek his custody for further interrogation,” an officer said.

Earlier in the day, Bibhav Kumar wrote to police, saying that he is ready to cooperate in their investigation, but they should also consider his complaint against Ms Maliwal. On Friday, Mr Kumar had filed a police complaint alleging Ms Maliwal breached the security of the CM’s residence to gain unauthorised entry on May 13 and created a ruckus there.

Sanjeev Nasiar, State president of AAP legal cell, said Bibhav Kumar had been arrested without being given a copy of the FIR.

“We have filed an application in the court saying that we have not yet received a copy of the FIR. The order is reserved till 4 p.m. but now I have come to know that he has been brought (to Civil Lines police station) without any notice. Now we want to go inside but we are being stopped…” he said.

Bibhav Kumar’s counsel N Hariharan produced in the court the videos which are already in circulation — disputing Swati Maliwal’s assault allegations. Bibhav’s lawyer said the entire incident was a concocted one and his client was not even given a notice before being taken into custody. “The entire place is covered by CCTV to get into the office and meet CM you need to have prior appointment and she did not have any prior appointment … There was a security breach and a report was filed by the security personnel,” Bibhav’s lawyer argued.

“She (Swati Maliwal) was made a chairperson of DCW and presently she is an RS member of our party. Why she is having angst against Bibhav, I don’t know. The motive seems to be elsewhere the target is elsewhere. I am not a flight risk, I am not going anywhere. Kindly protect me…Without notice, you cannot call me to the police station and you cannot make me sit there for hours on end…An interim protection can be granted and then a reply can be filed,” Bibhav’s lawyer said in the court.

She had gone to the SHO on May 13 and came out without making any complaint and then she went and made a complaint on May 16. This has to be read in my favour. This means that she is contemplating and conspiring. Kindly grant us protection,” the lawyer said.

The court disposed of the anticipatory bail as infructuous after additional public prosecutor Atul Kumar Srivastava submitted that Bibhav was arrested at 4.15pm, while the bail hearing was underway.




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