How Swati Maliwal Case Brought Arvind Kejriwal's 'Shadow' Under Spotlight

Bibhav Kumar met Arvind Kejriwal when he had been working with Kabir, an NGO founded by him and Manish Sisodia in 2005

How Swati Maliwal Case Brought Arvind Kejriwal's 'Shadow' Under Spotlight

Bibhav Kumar has been arrested in the Swati Maliwal assault case

New Delhi:

Bibhav Kumar, the main accused in the Swati Maliwal assault case, has for long been Arvind Kejriwal's shadow, with their association going back to the time when the Aam Aadmi Party did not even exist.

Forty-three-year-old Bibhav Kumar, it is learnt, holds a Master's degree from Delhi University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism and met the AAP leader when he had been working with Kabir, an NGO founded by Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in 2005. He also worked with Ms Maliwal on some projects after Mr Kejriwal, Mr Sisodia and journalist Abhinandan Sekhri founded the Public Cause Research Foundation.

When the India Against Corruption movement catapulted Mr Kejriwal to national limelight, Bibhav Kumar was with him.

After AAP swept the 2015 election in Delhi, Bibhav Kumar was appointed Mr Kejriwal's personal secretary. He was reappointed in 2020 when AAP returned to power in the national capital.

Known to work behind the scenes, Bibhav Kumar's influence was such that anyone, be it mediapersons or AAP functionaries, had to go through him if he/she wanted to meet Mr Kejriwal. He is among Mr Kejriwal's most trusted aides and is known to play a key role in shaping AAP's strategies.   

The 'shadow' first came under the spotlight last year when Delhi's directorate of vigilance questioned why he had been allotted a Type VI bungalow in violation of rules. Soon after, the Public Works Department cancelled the allotment.

In February this year, he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged irregularities in Delhi's now-scrapped liquor policy that led to the arrest of top AAP leaders.

In April, the vigilance department terminated Bibhav Kumar's services as Mr Kejriwal's personal secretary, citing a 2007 case of obstructing a public servant from work. He approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, but did not get any relief.

Delhi Police, in its remand note, has questioned why Bibhav Kumar was at the Chief Minister's residence on May 13 -- when the alleged assault on Ms Maliwal took place -- despite his termination.

A Rajya Sabha MP and former chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, Ms Maliwal has accused Bibhav Kumar of assaulting her during a visit to the Chief Minister's residence on May 13. Kumar has been arrested and is currently in police custody. 

The AAP, which had earlier said Bibhav Kumar had misbehaved with Ms Maliwal and strict action would be taken against him, has now said its MP is part of a BJP conspiracy.

"Anti-Corruption Bureau of the BJP has filed a case against Swati Maliwal regarding the illegal recruitment of contractual employees in DCW. A charge sheet has been filed and the time of conviction is coming, we believe that Swati Maliwal is being included in the conspiracy by using this case." AAP leader Atishi told the media yesterday.

Mr Kejriwal is holding a protest march to the BJP headquarters today. Announcing the protest yesterday, 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 to jail one after another... Today you have sent my PA (Bibhav Kumar) to jail."