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Swati Maliwal Controversy: FIR Filed against Kejriwal’s PA

Swati Maliwal Controversy: FIR Filed against Kejriwal’s PA

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 17: The BJP which kept mum when the top female wrestlers complained of sexual harassment against the party MP and former chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has come out all guns blazing to provide “justice” to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member of the Rajya Sabha Swati Maliwal who has complained to the police of an assault by the personal assistant of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

In a clear indication that the relations between the AAP and the former chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has finally broken down paving the way for Ms Maliwal to switch over to the BJP, the AAP on Friday released a 52-second video of Ms Maliwal arguing with the security staff at Mr Kejriwal’s residence with the caption “Truth of Ms Maliwal” with the party MP hitting back calling Mr Kejriwal the “hitman” and accused him of “going down the level” and that the “truth will come out one day.”

Soon after a police team, accompanied by forensic analysts, visited the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s residence, where the alleged assault took place. In addition to collecting CCTV footage from the living room, where Ms Maliwal has claimed she was slapped seven times and kicked in the chest, abdomen and in her pelvis areas, the police are expected to record witness statements and speak to members of Mr Kejriwal’s security staff, including those seen arguing with the AAP leader in blurry mobile phone footage of the stand-off that was leaked online this morning.

Ms Maliwal had submitted a statement to Delhi Police on Thursday evening, after four days of silence over an incident that has led to a political spat between Delhi’s ruling outfit and the opposition BJP. On basis of the statement – whom sources said was given a check-up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences – a case has been filed against Mr Kejriwal’s PA Bibhav Kumar, who on Friday skipped a summon from the National Commission for Women (NCW) to answer on the Maliwal case.

Hours earlier a two-member police team – led by Assistant Commissioner of Police PS Kushwaha – met Ms Maliwal, who had been incommunicado since the assault, at her home to seek details. Hours later a case was filed against Mr Kumar, who faces charges that include assault, criminal intimidation.

Ms Maliwal has claimed before the police that she was assaulted by Mr Kumar at the Chief Minister’s residence in Delhi’s Civil Lines area on Monday. According to the AAP’s Sanjay Singh – who on Tuesday confirmed the “distressing incident” – she was waiting to meet the Chief Minister when Mr Kumar “misbehaved” with her.

The police confirmed they received two calls from an unknown person within Arvind Kejriwal’s residence – but from a phone number registered to Ms Maliwal – alerting them to the harassment. Ms Maliwal later appeared at a police station in the area but left without filing a complaint.

The attack on Ms Maliwal led to the BJP unleashing a flood of counter-attacks on AAP and Mr Kejriwal, who was released on bail last week – so he might campaign for his party in the ongoing general election – after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in March in the liquor policy case.

The BJP has said Mr Kejriwal – who faces fresh demands to resign – is shielding his aide. On Tuesday Mr Singh had called the incident “shameful” and said Mr Kejriwal had “taken cognisance and called for strictest possible action” against his aide. He decried “political games” and said the party stands by Ms Maliwal, whom he called “one of the AAP’s oldest and senior-most leaders.”

Mr Singh’s statement was attacked swiftly by the BJP. The party’s Delhi boss, Virendra Sachdeva, said, “Why were they silent for 36 hours? Where was the Chief Minister? A Rajya Sabha MP… a woman… was misbehaved with at Mr Kejriwal’s home and you are taking cognisance only now?”

Ms Maliwal has responded sharply to a 52-second mobile phone video shared Friday afternoon, in which she is seen (briefly) and heard arguing with, and shouting at, security officials who told her to leave the building.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Ms Maliwal also referred to a “political hitman” – a remark seen by many as aimed at Mr Kejriwal – and claimed the “hitman” had directed “his people” to share the video in question to build a narrative to defend the party and “save himself (after) committing this crime.” “Like every time… this political hitman has started efforts to save himself. By getting his people to tweet and play videos without any context, he thinks he can save himself (after) committing this crime.”

In the video – which begins in the middle of the argument, and only briefly shows Ms Maliwal, seated on a couch – the security officials ask her get up (and leave the premises). To this Ms Maliwal responds, angrily, “… I will not. I will do it. I will do it. Today, I will tell these people everything.”

One of the guards responds, “Yes, you can… that is your headache…” and is then interrupted by Ms Maliwal, who says, “You will let me talk to the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police)… right now.” The guard says, “Yes… we will inform the DCP right away. Till then, you please come with us.”

A defiant Ms Maliwal then says she will complain to cops at the Civil Lines Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the area in which Mr Kejriwal lives. “That cannot happen here… you please come with us,” the guard says again, to which Ms Maliwal says fiercely, “No. Now this will happen here.” “This will happen here…” she says again, adding, “And I will eat your job if you touch me.”

All this time the video pans between the officer arguing with Ms Maliwal and the ground, but then shows the AAP leader for the first time; she is wearing a pink top and is sitting on the couch. “We humbly request you to move…” the security guard is then heard saying.

At this point Ms Maliwal declares she has made an emergency call to the police (on the 112 helpline for women in distress) and responds, “Let the police come…” and argues again with the guard. In the final seconds of the video Ms Maliwal also dares the guards to physically eject her. She also seems to curse one of the officers, triggering a rebuke. “Madam, you cannot speak like this,” the guard responds, to which Ms Maliwal says, “Just because you have a CCTV camera…”

On Thursday, in her first public comment on this row, Ms Maliwal called for action against those who allegedly attacked her, and wrote on X, “The last few days have been very difficult…”

Ms Maliwal’s statement before the police raises serious charges of assault against Bibhav Kumar. She is claimed to have been slapped, dragged and kicked in the chest in the drawing room of the Chief Minister’s official residence, with Mr Kejriwal present in the house at the time.

In the FIR filed last night, Ms Maliwal said she arrived at Arvind Kejriwal’s home at 6, Flag Staff Road, Civil Lines and attempted to contact the chief minister’s aide but received no response. She said she informed the staff of her presence and was asked to wait in the drawing room.

She alleged that while she was waiting, Bibhav Kumar burst into the room and started verbally abusing her. Ms Maliwal gave harrowing details, accusing Mr Kumar of slapping her seven-eight times on the face and hitting her chest, stomach, and sensitive parts. “Bibhav came and started abusing and kept slapping without provocation,” Ms Maliwal claimed in her complaint. “I made noise and said ‘Let me go’, but he kept beating me continuously and abusing me in Hindi. He threatened, ‘We will see, we will deal with it’. I informed him that I was menstruating and in considerable pain, begging him to leave me alone.”

“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.”

Ms Maliwal added in her complaint that she managed to run out of the house and call the police. “I was in a terrible state of shock at this attack. I was deeply traumatised and called the 112 number and reported the incident,” Mr Maliwal stated in the FIR.

When the security personnel arrived, instead of assisting Ms Maliwal, they allegedly followed Mr Kumar’s instruction to throw her out. Despite her condition, she was forced to leave and wait outside the Chief Minister’s residence until the police arrived.

“Bibhav came back with the security personnel working at the main gate. I kept telling them that I was brutally beaten up and they should look at my condition and wait until the police comes but they asked me to leave the premises,” Ms Maliwal’s statement reads.

Late last night, Delhi Police escorted Ms Maliwal to the AIIMS Trauma Centre for a medical checkup. When the police reached Mr Kumar’s residence in the Chandrawal Nagar area of the national capital, he was missing. Teams from the Crime Branch and Special Cell are looking for Mr Kumar, aiming to bring him into custody.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, criminal intimidation, insulting modesty, and assault. The FIR was filed after Ms Maliwal’s statement was recorded by a police team led by Additional Commissioner PS Kushwaha.

Following the police visit, Ms Maliwal posted on social media about the distressing experience and appealed against politicising the issue.

“What happened to me was very bad. I have given my statement to the police on the incident that happened to me. I hope that appropriate action will be taken. The last few days have been very difficult for me. I thank those who prayed for me.

“Those who tried to do character assassination said that I was doing it on the instructions of a party. May God keep them happy too. An important election is underway in the country. Swati Maliwal is not important, the issues of the country are important. There is a special request to the BJP to not do politics on this incident,” Ms Maliwal posted last night.

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.



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