"If Manish Sisodia Was Here...": Swati Maliwal's Post Amid AAP Protest Call

Arvind Kejriwal has announced a protest march to the BJP headquarters today

'If Manish Sisodia Was Here...': Swati Maliwal's Post Amid AAP Protest Call

AAP MP Swati Maliwal has accused Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar of assault

New Delhi:

Hitting out at the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) protest march over the political row surrounding her alleged assault, party MP Swati Maliwal has said that those who hit the streets for justice for the Delhi gangrape victim are now doing so to protect an accused.

Referring to the protest in the wake of the 2012 Delhi gangrape-murder, Ms Maliwal posted on X, "There was a time when he hit the streets to get justice for Nirbhaya. Twelve years later, they are hitting the streets to save an accused who deleted CCTV footage and formatted the phone."

Delhi Police have said Bibhav Kumar, former personal secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and main accused in the assault case, may have been involved in tampering with the CCTV footage of the Chief Minister's home to destroy evidence. Kumar has also formatted his phone, Delhi cops have said in the remand note. The close aide of Mr Kejriwal has been arrested and is in police custody.

In her post, Ms Maliwal also said this would not have happened to her if Manish Sisodia, Delhi's former Deputy Chief Minister, was not in jail.

"I wish they had tried so hard for Manish Sisodia. If he was here, maybe something so bad would not have happened to me," she said. Mr Sisodia, who is among AAP's top leaders, is in jail for over a year in connection with a money laundering case linked to Delhi's now-scrapped liquor policy.

A Rajya Sabha member and former chief of the Delhi Commission for Women, Ms Maliwal has alleged that Bibhav Kumar had slapped her multiple times and kicked her when she went to meet the Chief Minister at his residence on May 13. AAP MP Sanjay Singh had earlier said the Chief Minister's aide had misbehaved with her and that Mr Kejriwal will take strict action.

The BJP has described the incident as "shameful". Delhi BJP chief Sachdeva told news agency ANI, "I am happy that the accused Bibhav Kumar has been arrested. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should break his silence on this matter because he was present at that time in that house. A woman has been assaulted in that house. It would be good if people of the AAP would have come in support of her. We welcome the investigation initiated against him and hope that strict action is taken against him."

The AAP has said the BJP has made Ms Maliwal part of a 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 and Delhi Minister Atishi told the media yesterday.

Mr Kejriwal has announced a protest march to the BJP headquarters today. At a press meet 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," he said, adding that the BJP is saying they will send AAP MP Raghav Chadha and Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to jail too.

Countering Atishi's allegations, Mr Sachdeva said, "It would have been better if she (Atishi) would've spoken in favour of Ms Maliwal. I understand, she would've done this to save her seat in the party, but I want to ask her, the person who has been assaulted is a leader of AAP, who assaulted her is a leader of AAP, in whose house she was assaulted is also leader of AAP, the whole circus belongs to AAP, how is BJP involved in the matter?"