Sanjay Singh meets Maliwal amid row over 'assault' incident; BJP holds protest, questions Kejriwal's silence

Swati Maliwal
Swati Maliwal

New Delhi | AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Wednesday met party colleague Swati Maliwal amid a row over her allegation that she was assaulted at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence by his aide Bibhav Kumar, even as the BJP sharpened its attack on the AAP supremo, asking him to come clean and demanding action against the guilty.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders refused to give details about Singh's meeting with the former DCW chief, who remained incommunicado.

The meeting at Maliwal's residence is seen as an attempt to pacify the woman leader who has been with the party since its inception.

On Tuesday, Singh had at a press conference said that Kejriwal's personal assistant Bibhav Kumar had "misbehaved" with Maliwal at CM's residence and that Kejriwal would take strict action in the matter. The statement had come a day after Maliwal had made a police call from the CM's residence and also went to the Civil Lines police station.

However, Maliwal is yet to file a police complaint in the matter. A team of Delhi Police officials visited her house on Tuesday but declined to provide details.

Addressing a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Shazia Ilmi, who was formerly with AAP, also expressed concern over Maliwal's safety and wondered if she was being intimidated and pressured into reaching "some kind of a compromise".

She also targeted the opposition INDIA bloc, questioning the "silence" of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party president Mallikarjun Karage as well as TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on the issue.

Earlier in the day, BJP leaders and workers, including activists of its Mahila Morcha, held a protest near Kejriwal's residence.

Virendra Sachdeva, president of Delhi BJP, also questioned the "silence" of Kejriwal over the alleged incident and demanded action against those guilty.

"It is a matter of respect and honour of a woman who has been chief of the Delhi Commission for Women. We are here to support her. AAP leader Sanjay Singh has admitted to the incident. Why is Kejriwal not lodging a police complaint against the person who is involved in it," Sachdeva asked.

He said the police could launch a probe after confirmation of the incident by Singh.

He also urged Maliwal, who has maintained complete silence over the incident so far, to come forward to give her statement to the police.

Meanwhile, BSP candidate from the New Delhi seat and former Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand said that if the AAP failed to take action within 24 hours, his party would launch a protest at the CM's residence.

Anand accused the Aam Aadmi Party of being "anti-Dalit" and "anti-women" and, also claimed that an "influential individual was behind Maliwal's change of mind" and that's why she didn't lodge a complaint against the accused even after visiting the police station on Monday.

BJP leader Shazia Ilmi said Kejriwal should clarify his position in the matter.

"It is obvious that she had been beaten up at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal... I know all the characters (in Aam Aadmi Party) very well. It is impossible that Kejriwal's right hand would do so without being ordered to do so by Kejriwal."

"It is indeed very serious. Arvind Kejriwal should come clean on this, offer his resignation if he cannot ask Bibhav to resign," she added.

All India Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba, who had quit AAP in 2019 claiming she was "disrespected" by the party and had returned to the Congress, supported Maliwal, saying she is a strong woman.

"I am confident that she (Maliwal) will come forward and take the legal route and fight for justice," she said.

Congress and AAP are part of the opposition INDIA bloc.

On Tuesday, National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma expressed concern over the safety of Maliwal and asked her to speak up.

The NCW chairperson wondered if Maliwal was under pressure not to lodge a complaint to the police in the matter.

"I am worried about the safety of @SwatiJaiHind... what pressure is she under that she is unable to come forward and file a complaint with police. Be brave Swati #speakup," she said in a post on X.

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