Swati Maliwal Records Statement In Arvind Kejriwal Aide Assault Row

16 May 2024

Swati Maliwal Records Statement In Arvind Kejriwal Aide Assault Row

AAP MP Swati Maliwal was earlier Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (File).

New Delhi:

AAP leader Swati Maliwal - at the centre of a harassment row involving party boss Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar - has submitted a statement to Delhi Police, after four days of silence over an incident that has triggered a furious political spat between the ruling outfit and the opposition BJP.

On Thursday evening a two-member police team - led by Assistant Commissioner of Police PS Kushwaha - met Ms Maliwal, incommunicado since the assault, at her home to seek details and record a statement. The meeting lasted for four hours, officials told news agency PTI.

The police said a case might be registered based on the statement provided.

This was hours after the National Commission for Women issued a summons to Mr Kumar.

READ | Kejriwal's Aide Summoned By Women's Panel Over Swati Maliwal Row

Swati Maliwal was assaulted by Bibhav 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.

Delhi 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.

READ | Kejriwal Office Staffer "Misbehaved" With Swati Maliwal: AAP Leader

The attack on Ms Maliwal led to the BJP unleashing a flood of counter-attacks on the 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 scam.

The BJP has said Mr Kejriwal - who faces fresh demands to resign - is shielding his aide. Those accusations gathered steam today after he seemed to avoid reporters' questions on this topic.

It was Mr Singh - also out on bail in the liquor policy case - who quickly answered on the Chief Minister's behalf. The Rajya Sabha MP demanded the BJP answer questions about crimes against women in Manipur and allegations of sex crimes against ally and JDS MP Prajwal Revanna.

READ | Kejriwal Dodges Questions On Swati Maliwal Row, AAP Leader Replies

On Tuesday Mr Singh called the incident "shameful" and said Arvind 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".

#WATCH | Delhi BJP President Virendraa Sachdeva says, "We know that Vibhav Kumar is Arvind Kejriwal's associate and handles all his work...Who insighted him? Who gave him the directions? All this should be investigated...It would have been better if Sanjay Singh himself went to… https://t.co/j1M6uh6vDSpic.twitter.com/GnnguiItwR

— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2024

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?"

The BJP's Arvinder Singh Lovely, a recent recruit from the Congress, declared, "If Swati Maliwal has been treated like this... it is condemnable and shameful. Those who talk about guarantees cannot guarantee women's safety in their own homes. This raises questions on the administration."

The row over the assault on Ms Maliwal has also prompted the AAP's ally, the Congress, to react.

READ | Priyanka Gandhi's Guarded Response On Swati Maliwal Assault Case

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said "I always stand with women, irrespective of which party they belong to", but then left further action to be taken to the discretion of the AAP.

The AAP is part of the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc, which was formed to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats will vote in the fifth phase of the election - on May 25. In the last election, the BJP won all seven.

With input from agencies

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