A Delhi court on Wednesday sent two Aam Aadmi Party MLAs, accused of manhandling the state’s chief secretary, to judicial custody till Thursday, when it will hear their bail petitions, PTI reported. Earlier in the day, the court had rejected the police’s request for their custody for two days.
On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash had claimed that legislators Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan had manhandled him at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office on Monday night. The Delhi Police arrested Jarwal on Tuesday night, and Khan surrendered on Wednesday afternoon.
“He [Jarwal] went to the police station at noon and discussed things in detail,” the party’s councillor P Chauhan said. “What was the need of detaining him in a hurry in night? We also lodged complaint against the chief secretary, but he was not arrested. We were ready to surrender, they could have waited.”
The Delhi court on Wednesday refused to grant the police permission to question the two MLAs while they are in custody in Tihar Jail, PTI reported. The court held that their custodial interrogation was unnecessary as the legislators were cooperating in the investigation into the “highly sensitive” case.
AAP alleges diversion tactics by BJP
Earlier in the day, AAP leader Sanjay Singh had alleged that this incident was being used to divert attention from other major problems in the country, The Indian Express reported. “Whenever there is a major issue going on in the country, Aam Aadmi Party becomes the soft target,” Singh claimed, referring to the Punjab National Bank scam. “We are being hounded. Delhi chief secretary says he was beaten by AAP MLAs. There is no proof that he was beaten.”
The police said they do not plan to question the chief minister in the initial stage of investigation. “We spoke to the chief minister’s advisor VK Jain since he was present when the incident took place,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Harendra Singh told ANI.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday also rejected a plea seeking judicial intervention in the scuffle.
Top bureaucrats in the Delhi government arrived at their workplaces on Wednesday wearing black ribbons on their arms in protest against the alleged attack. On Tuesday, the Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services had threatened to go on strike if those at fault were not arrested, and the IAS Officers’ Association, Delhi, had issued a statement saying the incident was “appalling and shocking”.
By Wednesday evening, the Madhya Pradesh IAS Officers’ Association also demanded strict action against the people accused of the assault, ANI reported. Other top IAS officers and officers from the Delhi and Andaman Nicobar Island Civil Services cadre have asked for an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind, PTI reported.
“We have sought an appointment with the President to demand action against those who were involved in the attack on the chief secretary at the chief minister’s residence,” Manisha Saxena, secretary of the Delhi IAS Association, told PTI.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Congress leaders, including Ajay Maken and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, met Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal over the alleged assault. The Congress said the government of Delhi must apologise for assaulting the chief secretary.
Anshu Prakash had earlier claimed he was “held by the collar” and abused in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia during a meeting on Monday night. Kejriwal’s office dismissed the accusation as “bizarre and baseless” and denied the incident took place. Prakash’s medical report confirmed that there were cuts on his face and that his face was swollen, ANI quoted unidentified police officials as saying.