NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was unsparing in his attack on Delhi Police after his WagonR car was stolen, describing it as a "reflection" of the deteriorating crime situation in the city. A day later as the police got back the car from Ghaziabad, Delhi Police politely got back at the Chief Minister with some points of its own.
At a Press conference convened hours after the blue WagonR car was brought back to the national capital, the police pointed that the car was parked 200 metres from the authorised parking lot outside Delhi Secretariat and "lacked any anti-theft devices" such as a steering lock, gear lock or a global positioning system.
This had made it easier for the thief to steal the car, police spokesperson Madhur Verma said.
"People should park their vehicles in manned parking lots only," Mr Verma said, adding that most vehicles that go missing are picked up from locations other than a manned parking lot.
He also made it a point to stress that the blue WagonR wasn't used or owned by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. It is registered in the name of the Aam Aadmi Party and is being used by a party functionary Vandana Singh.
In his letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Kejriwal had called the car his own.
"My car getting stolen is a small matter. But the fact that it went missing outside the Delhi Secretariat reflects the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in Delhi," Mr Kejriwal, who has been locked in an incessant battle with the Centre over who should call the shots in Delhi, Mr Baijal.
Mr Kejriwal has no powers over Delhi Police that reports to the Lieutenant Governor and the Union Home Ministry.
The police officer also added that the car was probably stolen for a "joy ride", given how the thief was operating alone and not part of a gang.
CCTV footage showed the car being parked outside the Delhi Secretariat complex in central Delhi at about 1 pm. It was stolen at 1.06 pm and reported to the police at 3 pm.
Of the many teams that Delhi Police had deployed to look for the "old car", one was tasked to scan the footage of CCTV cameras along the possible route that the thief may have taken.
The cops were able to spot the car in footage captured by cameras at the ISBT metro station and DND flyover to Noida. This indicated that the car was being taken to western Uttar Pradesh region. So teams were sent to Ghaziabad and Noida to check parking lots and to Mathura and Meerut where car thieves often dispose the vehicles.
The Wagon R, gifted by an Indian living abroad, was dubbed the "AAP Mobile" and got plenty of mileage in the news when the Chief Minister used it to camp and sleep in during a controversial protest against the Delhi Police in 2014.
The blue car was used by the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP to demonstrate its commitment to fighting VIP culture and of standing with the little guy. It was used by Mr Kejriwal during his campaign for the first election he contested; it remained his vehicle of choice when he was first made Chief Minister.