Swati Maliwal Breaks Down In Court, Claims Threat If Bibhav Kumar Gets Bail

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Swati Maliwal, whose allegations of assault at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence have raised a political storm, told a Delhi court today that a bail relief for Mr Kejriwal's long-term aide Bibhav Kumar

May 27, 2024 - 15:00
Swati Maliwal Breaks Down In Court, Claims Threat If Bibhav Kumar Gets Bail

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Swati Maliwal, whose allegations of assault at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence have raised a political storm, told a Delhi court today that a bail relief for Mr Kejriwal's long-term aide and main accused Bibhav Kumar would put her and her family in danger.

Ms Maliwal made the remarks during a hearing on a bail petition by Bibhav Kumar. The counsel for Bibhav Kumar has questioned the Delhi Police's investigation into the case and said it is the AAP MP who should be probed for trespassing into the Chief Minister's residence.

A Rajya Sabha member and former chief of Delhi Commission for Women, Ms Maliwal has alleged that Bibhav Kumar assaulted her at the Chief Minister's residence on May 13. The AAP, which earlier said Mr Kejriwal aide's "misbehaved" with Ms Maliwal and will face action, later alleged she was a part of a BJP conspiracy against Mr Kejriwal.

Bibhav Kumar's counsel said they have filed a trespassing complaint against Ms Maliwal. "She directly entered the Chief Minister's residence. This amounts to trespass. This is a Chief Minister's home, can anyone come like this? She was asked to wait outside, but she barged and crossed the security zone. Being an MP gives you the licence to do anything. This is trespass, and the FIR is against us. What kind of investigation is this?"

Questioning who had asked her to visit the Chief Minister's residence, Bibhav Kumar's counsel said, "She came with something in her mind, she had premeditated thoughts before coming. She kept asking security personnel if they had spoken to Bibhav Kumar."

When Ms Maliwal barged in, Bibhav Kumar asked the security personnel why she was allowed in, his counsel asked. "He has to ask, as he is answerable for the Chief Minister's security. Security personnel then went inside and with all respect, she was escorted outside. She was walking out of the place normally. There was no hesitation seen," the lawyer said.

Bibhav Kumar's counsel also questioned the delay in Ms Maliwal filing a police complaint. "She did not file any complaint that day. She did it three days later. She was the DCW chief, she was well aware of her rights. If her rights were violated, she should have filed the complaint immediately. Why the delay of three days," the lawyer said.

Bibhav Kumar's counsel also questioned what the motive behind the alleged offences is. "Look at the place where the incident is happening, so many people are there. The protocol officer is there, the security officer is there and everyone knows that Swati Maliwal called Bibhav Kumar."

The lawyer also questioned police's decision to add the IPC section relating to an intent to disrobe a woman. "There was no intent to disrobe her. The only intent was to prevent her from entering the CM's residence. The allegations levelled do not show that there was an intent to disrobe her. All that can be seen is that during the scuffle, her shirt was torn. It is an incidental situation that has happened."

The entire FIR, Bibhav Kumar's counsel said, is an "afterthought". "I am only seeking bail. I am not seeking acquittal or discharge but bail. Everything was preplanned to suit the story."

At one point during the hearing, Ms Maliwal started crying.

Opposing Bibhav Kumar's request for bail, Delhi Police's counsel said no intent is required in this case. "You are beating a lady alone without any provocation. She was dragged. You were beating a lady in such a manner that buttons opened... here intention is not required, what you are doing may outrage modesty and that has to be seen."

The Delhi Police's lawyer responded to Bibhav Kumar's contention that Ms Maliwal went to the Chief Minister's residence with a plan to malign his image. "She is a sitting MP. She has been DCW chairperson. The party chief (Kejriwal) has called her Lady Singham. Now they are saying she went to malign? Who is he? He is not a permanent government servant. He has already been terminated."

Bibhav Kumar, who has been with Mr Kejriwal long before AAP came into being, had been serving as his personal secretary since 2015. In April, the vigilance department terminated his services, citing a 2007 case of obstructing a public servant from work. He approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, but did not get any relief.

"If Swati was trespassing, why no 100 call was made? I am being escorted by the security themselves inside, then does it mean I barged in? Where is the question of trespass?"

Delhi Police also questioned why the Chief Minister's office did not file a trespassing complaint on May 13. "I am being given death threats and rape threats," the lawyer said, quoting Ms Maliwal.

Addressing the court, Ms Maliwal said, "I was beaten badly. AAP leaders are saying I am an agent of BJP. AAP has a huge machinery of social media trolls. If this man comes out, it will be a huge death threat on me and my family."

Targeting Mr Kejriwal, Ms Maliwal said, "The CM is roaming with the accused and taking him to Lucknow and other places. They have big machinery of trolls, all party leaders have been warned to stand against me. He's (Bibhav Kumar) not an ordinary person, he gets the facilities even ministers don't get. If he comes out, my life and my family's life would be in grave danger."

Shortly after Bibhav Kumar's arrest, Mr Kejriwal led a protest march to the BJP headquarters today. He has said that his aide's arrest was part of the BJP's conspiracy to target AAP by sending its key leaders to jail. He has not commented directly on Ms Maliwal's allegations.

The court has now reserved its judgment on the bail request till 4 pm. 

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