Delhi leader Arvind Kejriwal’s aide arrested on charges of assaulting woman MP

Delhi leader Arvind Kejriwal’s aide arrested on charges of assaulting woman MP

Police in Delhi arrested an aide of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday after a woman parliamentarian accused him of assaulting her.

Swati Maliwal, the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) member from the Aam Aadmi Party that governs the capital region, filed a police complaint alleging that Mr Kejriwal’s secretary, Bibhav Kumar, assaulted her when she visited the chief minister’s residence this week.

Ms Maliwal, who is also the former chair of Delhi Women’s Commission, alleged that she was kicked, punched and abused by Mr Kumar. Ms Maliwal, 39, said her clothes were torn, and she received severe injuries on her head and her leg during the assault, according to NDTV.

Mr Kumar was arrested from Mr Kejriwal’s official residence by a Delhi Police team around noon and taken to the police station for interrogation, NDTV reported.

“We’ve not received any information from the police yet. We’ve sent them an e-mail that we will cooperate in the investigation,” Bibhav Kumar’s lawyer Karan Sharma told news agency ANI.

Ms Maliwal alleged that Mr Kumar slapped her seven or eight times, “kicked her on the chest, stomach and pelvis area”, according to the First Information Report – the first step in any police procedure in India – quoted by the Indian Express newspaper.

“The CMs house has hundreds of people. Bibhav’s screaming and shouting didn’t attract anyone’s attention?” the lawyers said in Mr Kumar’s defence during an anticipatory bail plea hearing in the city’s Tis Hazari court, according to the newspaper. Mr Kumar, in an email submitted to the Delhi Police, promised to “cooperate and join the investigation as and when called upon to do so by the Investigating officer”.

The incident has triggered a political storm in the capital during the ongoing seven-phase general elections as rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and AAP traded barbs over the alleged incident.

Mr Kejriwal’s party posted footage, purportedly from CCTV installed at the gate of Mr Kejriwal’s residence, on X suggesting that Ms Maliwal could be seen walking away from the house without any visible injuries.

“By getting his people to tweet and playing videos without any context, he thinks he can save himself by committing this crime. Who makes a video of someone being beaten up? The truth will be revealed to everyone as soon as the CCTV footage of the house and the room is checked,” Ms Maliwal countered on X.

AAP has alleged that Ms Maliwal’s complaint was politically motivated amid AAP and BJP’s bitter rivalry during the high-stakes election season and denied any wrongdoing.

AAP member Atishi said the former DCW chief went to meet the chief minister 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 told PTI Videos.

BJP’s Delhi unit has criticised Mr Kejriwal for remaining silent on the matter.

“Now that the entire Aam Aadmi Party is tarnishing the image of Swati Maliwal, it’s time Kejriwal comes forward and speaks on the matter,” Delhi BJP President Virendra Sachdeva said.

Mr Kejriwal, a key figure in the Indian opposition, and a vocal critic of prime minister Narendra Modi, became India’s first sitting chief minister to be arrested, a month before the country’s general elections started.

The Delhi leader was arrested by India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) – the country’s main agency for fighting financial crimes – over accusations that his party and state ministers accepted 1bn Indian rupees (£9.5m) in bribes from liquor contractors some two years ago.

Hours after India’s apex court granted him bail, the opposition leader launched an attack against the ruling Modi government, urging voters in the ongoing general election to bring an end to “dictatorship”.

Mr Kejriwal’s party is part of a broad opposition alliance called INDIA, the primary challenger to Mr Modi’s BJP.