Maliwal case: Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar arrested; AAP chief says he will go to BJP headquarters on Sunday

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar was arrested in connection with the alleged assault on AAP MP Swati Maliwal at the CM's residence even as a combative AAP chief said he and other party leaders would go to the BJP headquarters on Sunday and dared the "PM to send anyone he wants to jail".
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dares BJP
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dares BJP

New Delhi | Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar was arrested in connection with the alleged assault on AAP MP Swati Maliwal at the CM's residence even as a combative AAP chief said he and other party leaders would go to the BJP headquarters on Sunday and dared the "prime minister to send anyone he wants to jail".

The Aam Aadmi Party alleged Maliwal was "blackmailed" by the BJP to become part of a "conspiracy" against Kejriwal as she faces a corruption case and that the BJP wants to send party MP Raghav Chadha and Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to prison too.

Hitting back, the BJP accused AAP of resorting to victim-shaming and victim-blaming with its brazen defence of Kumar. BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged that Kejriwal is making efforts to protect Kumar as his aide is in a position to expose the chief minister's damaging "secrets".

Kumar was picked up from the chief minister's residence by a Delhi police team on Saturday, a senior police officer said, adding that they suspected that he had come to tamper with evidence.

Later in the night, Kumar was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Goyal who sent him to a five-day police custody after the police sought his remand to question him about the incident and to retrieve data from his phone.

Hours after Kumar's arrest, Kejriwal held a press conference where he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "playing the game" of sending AAP leaders such as Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, and Sanjay Singh to jail.

"They are after our party and sending our leaders in jail one after another... Today you have sent my PA to jail," he said, adding the BJP is saying they will send AAP MP Raghav Chadha and Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to jail too.

"I along with my MLAs and MPs would go to the BJP office at noon tomorrow so that the prime minister can send anyone he wants to jail," he said.

"The AAP is an idea. For as many AAP leaders you jail, the country would produce leaders a hundred times more," Kejriwal said, as the Maliwal incident intensified the slugfest between the BJP and AAP in Delhi, where Lok Sabha polls will be held on May 25.

Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party cannot not be crushed by sending its leaders to jail.

Maliwal had recorded her statement before a magistrate at the Tis Hazari court on Friday. The Rajya Sabha MP has alleged that the CM's aide attacked her with full force, slapping her in the face and kicking her in the chest and abdomen on May 13 when she had gone to meet the chief minister.

Her medical examination was conducted at the AIIMS on Friday. According to the medico-legal certificate (MLC), she has "bruises over proximal left leg dorsal aspect of approx size 3x2 cm and right cheek elbow below right eye of approx size 2x2 cm"

The officer said Kumar had gone to CM's residence on Saturday morning to meet Kejriwal.

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.

According to a police officer, Kumar was interrogated about the reason he went to the CM's house on Saturday morning.

The police suspect that he might have come to tamper with the evidence.

"As soon as they got to know about the presence of Kumar at the CM's residence on Saturday morning, a team from the local police station was sent to nab him," the officer said.

They also asked Kumar about his whereabouts at the time of the filing of the FIR against him on Thursday.

In the evening, AAP leaders Gopal Rai, Sanjay Singh and Atishi visited Kumar's residence.

During questioning, the police officers asked him multiple questions about what happened at the CM's residence on May 13, sources said.

Another officer said he was also questioned as to what he was doing on May 13 at the CM residence when Maliwal reached there at 9 am.

They also asked him about Kejriwal's presence at his home on the day of the incident.

Meanwhile, a city court ruled the anticipatory bail plea of Kumar has become infructuous as he has already been arrested.

Earlier in the day, Kumar wrote to the police, saying that he is ready to cooperate in their investigation, but they should also consider his complaint against Maliwal.

On Friday, Kumar filed a police complaint, alleging Maliwal breached the security of the CM's residence to gain unauthorised entry on May 13 and created a ruckus there.

The CM's aide also alleged that when he tried to stop her she hurled abuses at him.

Senior AAP leader Atishi said if the Delhi Police is impartial, it should also register an FIR on Kumar's complaint.

At the press conference, Kejriwal claimed that the AAP's "fault" was that its government in Delhi built good schools, set up Mohalla Clinics, provided free treatment and ensured free round-the-clock power supply in the city which the BJP could not do.

Talking to PTI Videos, Atishi claimed the former DCW chief faces arrest in an illegal recruitment case and she was "blackmailed" by the BJP to become part of a "conspiracy" against Kejriwal.

Atishi, who is also a cabinet minister in the Delhi government, alleged that Maliwal went to the chief minister's official 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 Maliwal was made the face of this "conspiracy" by the BJP.

"The BJP has a pattern. First, they file cases and then 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.

Meanwhile, another purported video of Maliwal from the day of the incident surfaced online.

In the video, a woman security personnel is seen holding Maliwal by her arm while escorting her out of Kejriwal's residence. As they exit the main gate, Maliwal frees her arm from the security personnel's grip.

In a post on X, Maliwal claimed that edited videos were being released and that the CCTV footage of the incident has disappereared

Maliwal, who has removed a display picture of Kejriwal on her X handle, also attacked AAP for dismissing as baseless her assault allegations against Bibhav Kumar, and said the AAP has given in under a "goon's pressure" and is now questioning her character.

The AAP, Maliwal said, has made a "U-turn" two days after accepting that Kumar had "misbehaved" with her.

Addressing another press conference in the evening, Atishi alleged that the city police arrested Kumar at the same time his anticipatory bail plea was being heard in court.

"This shows the BJP's conspiracy. Their intention is to disturb our election campaign and Arvind Kejriwal," she said.

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