Maliwal assault case: Kejriwal aide Bibhav being taken to Mumbai for retrieval of phone data

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar, arrested for allegedly assaulting AAP MP Swati Maliwal, is being taken to Mumbai for the retrieval of data from his formatted iPhone, police said on Tuesday.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar

New Delhi | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar, arrested for allegedly assaulting AAP MP Swati Maliwal, was taken to Mumbai to retreive data from his allegedly formatted phone, police said on Tuesday.

Kumar is in a five-day police custody in connection with the alleged assault on Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha MP, at the Delhi CM's residence.

Police said Kumar had formatted his phone after transferring its data to some person or device in Mumbai.

His mobile phone was seized following his arrest but it was found to have been formatted, they said.

A five-member police team landed at the Mumbai airport around 4.30 pm with Kumar. They took him to many locations, including the place where he stayed before coming to Delhi on May 18.

Kumar's phones, laptop and CCTV recordings have been sent for forensic examination, an officer said.

The officer said as the police custody of Kumar is ending on Thursday, investigators are trying to collect all the evidence related to the case.

Maliwal has alleged that she was assaulted by Kejriwal's personal assistant Kumar when she had gone to meet the CM at his residence on May 13.

On Maliwal's complaint, the police booked Kumar under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint ), 345B (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with the intent to disrobe her), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (insult caused to the modesty of a woman by the use of any words, gestures, or object intending to the do the same) at the Civil Lines police station.

A team led by a female additional DCP-level officer has been investigating the case.

In a complaint to police, Kumar accused Maliwal of breaching the security of the CM's residence, gained access forcibly and created a ruckus there.

When Kumar tried to stop her, she hurled abuses at him with the intent to physically assault him, according to the complaint. Kumar also said in the complaint that Maliwal is trying to falsely implicate him so as to create undue pressure on him.

CM's 'deafening silence' speaks volumes of his stance on women safety, says L-G

New Delhi | Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena on Tuesday said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's "deafening silence" on the alleged assault on AAP Rajya Sabha MP "speaks volumes of his stance on the safety of women" and stressed that the CM should have not been "evasive" and "dodgy" on the issue.

Hitting back, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the L-G's statement proves that "Maliwal is working at the behest of BJP".

The Delhi Police on Saturday arrested Kumar, an aide of Kejriwal, after Maliwal accused him of assaulting her on May 13 at the Delhi Chief Minister's official residence.

In a statement, posted by the Raj Niwas on 'X', Saxena said the Delhi Police is investigating the matter and it will be brought to its "logical conclusion".

He also termed the alleged "U-turn" by the party on the matter "baffling."

"I have been deeply distressed over the unfolding media narrative over the last few days on the issue of alleged assault on Ms Swati Maliwal, MP, Aam Aadmi Party, at the residence of Chief Minister, when she went there to meet him all alone.

"Yesterday, she called me out of sheer anguish, describing at length her traumatic experience, and the subsequent intimidation and shaming that she is being subjected to by her own colleagues. She also expressed concerns over reported tampering of evidence and coercion against her," he said.

About Kejriwal, Saxena said, "I would have expected that at least for the sake of propriety, my CM would have come clean, rather than being evasive and dodgy. His deafening silence speaks volumes of his stance on the safety of women."

Delhi is the national capital and is home to the entire diplomatic community from around the world and "such shameful incidents and the insensitive and conspiratorial contemptuous government response on an issue of women safety tarnishes India's image worldwide," he said.

"Had such an incident happened in any other chief minister's residence in the country, external forces with vested interests, inimical to India, would have unleashed a scathing global narrative around women's safety in India. The absence of any outrage in this case leaves several questions unanswered," the statement from the L-G said.

Saxena said that Maliwal has been "vociferous", "hostile" and "blatantly partisan towards me and my office, often criticizing me unjustifiably".

He said it was "most disturbing" that the alleged scene of the crime was the drawing room of the chief minister, even while he was allegedly present in the house, and that it was carried out by his "closest aide" on a woman who was alone.

"Her fellow member of Rajya Sabha confirmed her narrative in full media glare and assured that the CM would take firm action against the culprit -- his aide.

"Subsequently, a total U-turn was done in the matter, apparently at the behest of the highest functionary. This too is inexplicable and baffling," he said.

On May 14, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that the incident involving Maliwal was "highly condemnable" and claimed that Kumar had "misbehaved" with her. Days later, Atishi, in a press conference, termed the case a "BJP conspiracy" to frame Kejriwal and called Maliwal its "face."

Responding to the L-G's statement, the AAP said the BJP is hatching a "new conspiracy" every day in the run-up to the polls.

"Sometimes they rake up the excise policy case, sometimes the Swati Maliwal incident and sometimes the allegation of the party receiving foreign funding. The BJP will use new tactics against us till the polls. The BJP is losing the polls badly and they are trying to lift their status using the Maliwal issue," the party alleged.

The BJP, fearing defeat in Lok Sabha polls in Delhi and Punjab, is using Swati Maliwal to bolster their campaign, the AAP alleged.

Senior AAP Leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, in a post on 'X', hit out at the Delhi L-G, asking what steps he took when female wrestlers were protesting against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh at the Jantar Mantar.

He said the Delhi Police, which comes under the L-G, filed an FIR in the matter only after the Supreme Court ordered it to do so.

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