‘More AAP MLAs will be arrested, it seems..’: Kejriwal after Amanatullah’s arrest
The Aam Aadmi Party has come out in support of its Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan who was arrested by the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on Friday.
A day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Amanatullah Khan was arrested by the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), the ruling party has come out in support of the Okhla MLA while alleging that the investigative agencies are “batting for the BJP” to create a negative perception about the AAP in wake of its “rising popularity” in Gujarat.
Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said that Amanatullah Khan has been arrested and many more MLAs will be arrested in the coming days and it seems they (BJP) are hurt in Gujarat. “Satyendar Jain (Delhi health minister) was arrested first but they are not able to present any evidence in court. They raided Manish Sisodia’s house but found nothing and now Amanatullah has been arrested and many more MLAs will be arrested now. It seems they are hurt badly in Gujarat,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the arrest was part of the alleged “Operation Lotus” to break AAP. “First they arrested Satyendra Jain but no evidences have been presented in the court. They raided my home and found nothing. They started a fake investigation against Kailash Gahlot and now they have arrested Amanatullah Khan. The operation Lotus to break every leader of AAP continues,” Sisodia tweeted.
AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the BJP and the agencies are afraid of the Aam Admi Party’s rising popularity in Gujarat and these raids and arrests are being conducted out of desperation. Bharadwaj said that Khan has two residential addresses in Joga Bai extension and Zakir Nagar where nothing has been recovered by the anti-corruption branch yet a perception is being created to malign his image. “No money, no guns, no bullets, nothing illegal has been found at both these addresses but the central government is creating this propaganda about our MLA,” he said.
Delhi ACB on Friday arrested AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board, Madhur Verma, the head of ACB, said on Friday. Khan is the chairperson of the Delhi Waqf Board. A first information report (FIR) against Khan was registered on January 28, 2020, under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint by a former Waqf Board member. The member alleged illegal recruitment of 33 personnel in the Delhi Waqf Board, financial bungling of records, corruption in purchase of vehicles, and the creation of tenancy in the board’s properties. ACB has alleged that unlicensed pistols, bullets of different caliber, around ₹24 lakh cash and a bank note counter were seized from the houses of Khan’s two associates.
Responding to the developments, AAP chief spokesperson said that two FIRs have been filed on Friday against individuals named Hamid Ali and Kausar Imam Siddiqui who are being called Amanatullah’s associates but these people have nothing to do with Khan. “They are not his associates or business partners. But even if we imagine for a moment that something was recovered from a business partner, under criminal law it cannot be blamed on someone else. Amanatullah is not doing any business but these people are being called his business partners,” Bharadwaj said.
The AAP spokesperson added that a third FIR has been filed for allegedly obstructing the ACB staff during the raids but in the video shot by Khan’s family it can be clearly seen that there was no obstruction and everyone cooperated. “In the end, the officials also thanked the family for their co-operation,” Bharadwaj said. He added that the case in which ACB raided Khan’s house is a 2.5 year old case in which FIR was filed in January 2020 and nothing has been proved over these years. “Khan was called for questioning and at the same time raids were carried out at several places after which this propaganda was unleashed to create an image as if illegal items were found with Khan’s associates. In a few days, they will start claiming that these things were found from his home,” he added.
Bharadwaj, the Greater Kailash MLA, alleged that agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Burau of Investigation (CBI) and ACB are “batting for the BJP” so that their social media trolls can defame the AAP. “Enforcement Directorate is so desperate that it has raided more than 100 locations, more places will be raided and if anything is found at any place, it will be now associated with Manish Sisodia. All this is being done just because, they are afraid of the AAP’s rising popularity in Gujarat,” he alleged.
Bharadwaj claimed that the same pattern was followed in the cases of Satyendra Jain and Manish Sisodia but agencies are not able to find anything. “Not a single illegal rupee has been found. They have raided more than 100 places in last two weeks in the excise policy matter but found nothing to prove the allegations of corruption. They have not been able to prove anything in court,” he added.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta has accused AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal of protecting corrupt leaders. “One of their ministers is in jail, the deputy CM is under probe in the liquor scam. The party, which preached honesty, has been exposed,” Gupta said.
The AAP and BJP have been engaged in tussle over a series of corruption related investigations that have been initiated over the last month.
Meanwhile, the Delhi police on Saturday arrested Amanatullah Khan’s alleged aide Hamid Ali after a pistol, some bullets and ₹12 lakh cash were recovered from his residence on Friday. The police have registered a case under Arms Act against Ali.