Indian Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV, whose Twitter account has been among the most active in responding to Covid-related SOS, was questioned by the Delhi Police today on allegations linked to distribution of Covid medicines. Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP said they were also questioned.
The police said they were acting on a petition filed in the Delhi High Court that says politicians from different parties are involved in the illegal distribution of medicines used for Covid treatment. Though no one is named in the petition, a Crime Branch team arrived at Mr Srinivas's office to record his statement.
"On a writ filed by Deepak Singh about politicians involved in illegal distribution of Covid medicines etc, the Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police to conduct an enquiry. In compliance of Delhi High Court's order, Delhi Police is conducting an enquiry on several politicians including Srinivas," the Delhi Police said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in his support.
"The one who saves is always bigger than the one who destroys," he wrote in Hindi, with the hashtrag #IStandWithIYC
बचाने वाला हमेशा मारने वाले से बड़ा होता है।#IStandWithIYC— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 14, 2021
Mr Srinivas said he was not worried as he had done nothing illegal.
"We will not stop our work, we are not scared," Mr Srinivas, 39, told NDTV.
"We have not done anything wrong, if our smallest efforts can help save a life we will not stop or be scared of such PILs."
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir slammed what he called "needless politicisation" of "due process" and indicated that he was asked questions too.
"Opposition should not indulge in needless politicisation of due process. Delhi Police has asked for a reply from us and we've provided all details. I will keep serving Delhi and its people to the best of my abilities always!" - he tweeted.
Opposition should not indulge in needless politicisation of due process.— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) May 14, 2021
Delhi Police has asked for a reply from us & we've provided all details. I will keep serving Delhi & its people to the best of my abilities always!
AAP MLA Dilip Pandey posted that he was questioned too. "Helping people has become a crime under the Modi government. My whole family is affected by the Covid infection, but Crime Branch came asking me how did you help people? Answer us? I will help people not once but a thousand times, even if I am hanged for it, " Mr Pandey tweeted.
Soon, BJP leader Harish Khurana tweeted that he was questioned. "I was also questioned by crime branch today for helping people . I gave statement in the afternoon," he wrote.
Srinivas BV, a cricketer-turned-politician, has been managing a war room inside the Youth Congress office in the capital, which monitors and acts on tweets asking for help or requests for oxygen and medicines. Last year, he set up a network of Youth Congress volunteers under "SOS IYC".
His efforts gained attention when a large number of tweets started tagging him on calls for help in the deadly second surge of Covid that has seen a huge demand for oxygen for patients.
Recently, there was a controversy when embassies sent SOS to the Congress for oxygen. The Congress supplied oxygen to critical patients in two embassies - New Zealand and Philippines. The Youth Congress tweeted the appeal by the New Zealand High Commission as well as videos of the oxygen cylinders being delivered. This set off a war of words on social media between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
The New Zealand embassy deleted its tweet to the Youth Congress and tweeted: "We are trying all sources to arrange for oxygen cylinders urgently and our appeal has unfortunately been misinterpreted, for which we are sorry."