Swati Maliwal case: ‘Unbelievable’, FM Nirmala Sitharaman questions Arvind Kejriwal’s silence on assault charges

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for remaining silent on Swati Maliwal's assault allegations. Despite promises of action from AAP MP Sanjay Singh, the accused was seen with Kejriwal in Lucknow.

Livemint
Updated17 May 2024, 02:27 PM IST
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Swati Maliwal issue
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Swati Maliwal issue(Jitender Gupta)

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Friday, chided Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for being silent on the Swati Maliwal issue. Maliwal, who is Kejriwal's colleague and AAP's Rajya Sabha MP, has alleged that a personal staff of the Delhi CM, Bibhav Kumar, assaulted her.

While addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters, Sitharaman said that Arvind Kejriwal should break his silence and speak on the attack on his party's MP. She said, “Since May 13, the Delhi Chief Minister has not spoken a word on the assault against their party MP Swati Maliwal. It is unbelievable and unacceptable. A CM who is often advocating for the rights of women has not spoken a single word.”

The FM also cited charges of attack on women against several AAP leaders, including its New Delhi Lok Sabha candidate Somnath Bharti, to claim that it is an anti-women party.

“The fact that Swati Maliwal did not register a complaint in Police for three to four days (after the incident) means that there was pressure on her from high-level. There is reason to believe that there was enough pressure on her and probably continues on her,” Sitharamam added. 

The issue has sparked controversy amid the Lok Sabha 2024 polls. Sitharaman slammed Kejriwal for “shamelessly” moving around with the accused Bibhav Kumar.

While the AAP MP Sanjay Singh promised action in the Maliwal case, the accused was recently spotted with Kejriwal in Lucknow.

Swati Maliwal presses assault charges against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's PA

News agency PTI reported that according to the statement given to the police by Maliwal, she was sitting in the drawing room of the CM's residence when Kumar came and allegedly slapped her multiple times.

The police have registered an FIR under sections 354, 506, 509, and 323 of the IPC, among other sections, for offences including assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, criminal intimidation, word gesture or acts of intent to insult and assault.

Swati Maliwal case: ‘Why Kejriwal isn’t taking action against Bibhav?'

She ran out of the CM's residence and called the police. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) after the police team left her house, Maliwal said she had recorded her statement with the Delhi Police on what happened to her and urged the BJP not to indulge in politics. “Hope appropriate action is taken. Whatever happened with me was extremely bad,” said the MP. She also wrote, “The past days have been very difficult for me. I thank those who prayed.”

Swati Maliwal breaks silence on ‘assault’ incident: ‘What happened with me…’

Meanwhile, Maliwal arrived at the Tis Hazari Court in Delhi on Friday to have her statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Under Section 164, a magistrate can record a person's statement or confession during a police investigation before the trial.

Swati Maliwal assault case: Priyanka Gandhi says Congress stands with women

The National Commission of Women has also demanded an action taken report from the Delhi Police.

On taking action against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, NCW chief Rekha Sharma said, “If Delhi CM is involved in this, police and NCW will take action against him.”

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First Published:17 May 2024, 02:27 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaSwati Maliwal case: ‘Unbelievable’, FM Nirmala Sitharaman questions Arvind Kejriwal’s silence on assault charges

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