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Arvind Kejriwal's Aide Faces Assault Charge After Swati Maliwal Complaint

New Delhi: AAP leader Swati Maliwal - at the centre of a harassment row involving party boss Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar - submitted a statement to Delhi Police Thursday evening, after four days of silence over an incident that has led to a political spat between Delhi's ruling outfit and the opposition BJP.

On basis of the statement - whom sources said was given a check-up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences - a case has been filed against Bibhav Kumar. And, in her first public statement since the row, she said on X, "What happened to me was very bad… The last few days have been very difficult..."

Hours earlier a two-member police team - led by Assistant Commissioner of Police PS Kushwaha - met Ms Maliwal, who had been incommunicado since the assault, at her home to seek details.

Hours later a case was filed against Mr Kumar, who faces charges that include assault, criminal intimidation. This was hours after he was summoned by the National Commission for Women.

Ms Maliwal was assaulted by Mr Kumar at the Chief Minister's residence in Delhi's Civil Lines area on Monday. According to the AAP's Sanjay Singh - who on Tuesday confirmed the "distressing incident" - she was waiting to meet the Chief Minister when Mr Kumar "misbehaved" with her.

The police confirmed they received two calls from an unknown person within Arvind Kejriwal's residence - but from a phone number registered to Ms Maliwal - alerting them to the harassment.

Ms Maliwal later appeared at a police station in the area but left without filing a complaint.

The attack on Ms Maliwal led to the BJP unleashing a flood of counter-attacks on AAP and Mr Kejriwal, who was released on bail last week - so he might campaign for his party in the ongoing general election - after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in March in the liquor policy case.

The BJP has said Mr Kejriwal - who faces fresh demands to resign - is shielding his aide. Those accusations gathered steam today after he seemed to avoid reporters' questions on this topic.

It was Mr Singh - also out on bail in the liquor policy case - who quickly answered on the Chief Minister's behalf. The Rajya Sabha MP demanded the BJP answer questions about crimes against women in Manipur and allegations of sex crimes against ally and JDS MP Prajwal Revanna.

On Tuesday Mr Singh called the incident "shameful" and said Arvind Kejriwal had "taken cognisance and called for strictest possible action" against his aide. He decried "political games" and said the party stands by Ms Maliwal, whom he called "one of the AAP's oldest and senior-most leaders".

Mr Singh's statement was attacked swiftly by the BJP. The party's Delhi boss, Virendra Sachdeva, said, "Why were they silent for 36 hours? Where was the Chief Minister? A Rajya Sabha MP... a woman... was misbehaved with at Mr Kejriwal's home and you are taking cognisance only now?"

The BJP's Arvinder Singh Lovely, a recent recruit from the Congress, declared, "If Swati Maliwal has been treated like this... it is condemnable and shameful. Those who talk about guarantees cannot guarantee women's safety in their own homes. This raises questions on the administration."

The row over the alleged assault on Ms Maliwal has also prompted the AAP's ally, the Congress, to react.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, "I always stand with women, irrespective of which party they belong to", but then left further action to be taken to the discretion of the AAP.

The AAP is part of the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc, which was formed to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats will vote in the sixth phase of the election - on May 25. In the last election, the BJP won all seven.

Source: NDTV

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