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Who Is Swati Maliwal? Ex-DCW Chief & AAP MP Files Assault Complaint

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament and Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal has lodged a police complaint against Bibhav Kumar, an aide to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging physical assault. 

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Swati Maliwal

Swati Maliwal. (File Image)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament and Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal has lodged a police complaint against Bibhav Kumar, an aide to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging physical assault. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got involved in controversy following an episode of inappropriate behaviour involving Kumar when the Delhi Police got two distress calls from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, claiming that she had been assaulted during her visit.

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Maliwal, an esteemed politician and advocate for women's rights, reported a disrespectful encounter with Kumar, an aide to Arvind Kejriwal, on May 13th. The incident sparked public scrutiny and political debate.

Allegations of Assault at Arvind Kejriwal's Residence

According to police sources, Maliwal's accusation contains a concerning account of Kumar's physical aggression against her. She claims she was not only assaulted, but also subjected to numerous blows, particularly on "sensitive body parts,," and that Kumar slapped, kicked, and even struck her with a stick.

According to individuals familiar with the matter, Maliwal, who had been abroad for an extended period, ventured to Kejriwal's residence, purportedly to meet him. However, her attempts were thwarted by Kejriwal's personal assistant, Kumar, who allegedly prevented her from gaining access to the Chief Minister. The situation escalated when the Delhi Police received two separate calls reporting the incident.

The first call, made anonymously around 9:40 am, provided scant details. However, the subsequent call, approximately 14 minutes later, identified the caller as Swati Maliwal herself, alleging mistreatment by Bibhav Kumar. These calls prompted an immediate response from law enforcement, with three police vans dispatched to the location specified.

Despite the swift reaction from authorities, upon arrival at the alleged scene of the incident, no evidence corroborating the claims could be found. Additionally, Maliwal previously visited the Civil Lines Police Station independently but departed without filing a formal complaint, leaving officers perplexed about the rationale behind her actions.

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Amit Malviya, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) IT cell, took to the X platform to highlight the alleged assault, drawing attention to Maliwal's prior absence during Kejriwal's arrest and subsequent interim bail. This incident emerged mere days after Kejriwal secured temporary relief from the Supreme Court to participate in campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

In a recent development, Delhi's Directorate of Vigilance has also taken decisive action by terminating the services of Bibhav Kumar, Kejriwal's private secretary. The termination order, issued by Special Secretary Vigilance YVVJ Rajshekhar, cites the gravity of the charges against Kumar, including allegations of assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of duty. 

Addressing the media, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh also shed light on the unsettling events that transpired, stating, "Yesterday, a condemnable incident took place. I want to tell you about it." He elucidated that Swati Maliwal, a prominent figure known for her contributions to society, had visited the Chief Minister's residence with the intention of meeting Arvind Kejriwal. However, her encounter took a distressing turn when Bibhav Kumar purportedly engaged in inappropriate behavior towards her, prompting Maliwal to promptly contact the Police Control Room (PCR) and report the incident.

Police Involvement and Official Procedures

Reports suggest that Swati Maliwal did contact the PCR to report the alleged assault but did not file an official complaint at the Civil Lines police station. However, police records indicate the registration of two daily diary entries detailing Maliwal's allegations of assault purportedly orchestrated on the instructions of Arvind Kejriwal.

The former chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), previously expressed her intent to file a case against the alleged perpetrator but did not follow through with a formal complaint. Additionally, her ex-husband, Naveen Jaihind, raised concerns about her safety, claiming that Maliwal's life was under threat following the incident. He asserted that the misbehaviour was premeditated and urged Maliwal to speak up and assert her rights.

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In her statement to the authorities, Maliwal recounted a harrowing ordeal during which she implored Kumar to cease his aggression, but to no avail. Subsequently, she made the decision to contact law enforcement, signalling a firm stance against the alleged perpetrator's actions.

Despite the purported assault occurring on Monday, Maliwal refrained from lodging a formal complaint until Thursday. This delay, while raising questions, was met with confirmation from the AAP, lending credence to the severity of the accusations levied against Kumar. It is notable, however, that no official complaint was lodged until Maliwal's recent action.

The response from the Delhi Police was swift and decisive. An FIR (First Information Report) was promptly registered against Kumar, encompassing charges ranging from outraging the modesty of a woman to criminal intimidation. A dedicated team, led by an Additional Commissioner of Police, spent an exhaustive four hours meticulously recording the details of Maliwal's statement.

Meanwhile, Maliwal took to social media to express her hopes for the appropriate handling of the situation. 

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“What happened to me was very bad. I have given my statement to the police on the incident that happened to me. I hope that appropriate action will be taken,” she said in a statement via X.

“The last few days have been very difficult for me. I thank those who prayed for me. Those who tried to do character assassination, said that she was doing it on the instructions of the other party, may God keep them happy too,” Maliwal said.

AAP Member Takes Oath At Rajya Sabha

Maliwal took her oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha on January 31, 2024. She took the oath on the first day of the Budget Session 2024 with Satnam Singh Sandhu and Narain Dass Gupta. Member of AAP, Maliwal was elected unopposed from Delhi on January 5. 

Speaking about her experience, Maliwal said, "Today is a big day for me. Today I took an oath that my life will be dedicated to the country... I am an activist, and I will always be an activist. I will always raise the issues from the ground level...If all the MPs of the opposition are suspended, then who will question the government? So suspending the opposition MPs is a sad thing..." 

However, Maliwal had to take her oath twice. This is because she exclaimed "Inquilab Zindabad" in her first oath, which was then objected to by BJP leader Piyush Goyal. So her name called out again to take the oath. 

Her major responsibility as an MP

A day before she took the oath, Maliwal had said that she was very excited about being elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha. She added, "I am very excited. As a first-time MP, I have a huge responsibility. I feel that I have always been an activist, and will continue to remain one. I will raise grassroots issues and I am looking forward to it." Having worked as an activist, Maliwal said that as an MP she will continue to raise the issue of women's safety and their participation in the workforce. 

"My first question is why 51 FIRs are registered every hour over crimes against women. An eight-month-old girl is raped in Delhi and even an 85-year-old woman,” she said, adding that the punishments for these crimes should be decided systematically. 

She further talked about Brij Bhushan, Bilkis Bano and said, "Why is Brij Bhushan still in Parliament? Why were Bilkis Bano’s rapists freed?Why do women form only 23 per cent of the workforce? Raising these questions will be my priority."

Who is Swati Maliwal

Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Swati Maliwal, who has earlier worked with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as his advisor on public grievances before joining DCW, has been nominated by AAP as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections along with its two other members. Maliwal has reportedly stepped down from her position as DCW Chief.  

The political party has also signed Sanjay Singh and ND Gupta for their renomination from the party for their second term  in the Upper House of the Parliament, despite Singh serving his punishment in jail as summoned by ED in connection with a case of Delhi excise policy. 

 The party's candidates for representing the party in the Rajya Sabha were announced by AAP's political affairs committee (PAC), which nominated DCW chief Swati Maliwal amongst two other candidates. Her nomination to the Rajya Sabha is seen as a move by the AAP to strengthen its focus on women's issues. The party has been working to make Delhi a safer city for women, and Maliwal's appointment is likely to give it a boost in this effort. Women's rights activists have also welcomed her nomination. They believe she will be a strong voice for women in the Rajya Sabha. 

Maliwal, a lawyer and an activist, has been a vocal advocate for women's rights. She has been at the forefront of several campaigns against sexual harassment and violence against women. Hence, many women activists have expressed their confidence in Maliwal as a valuable addition to the Rajya Sabha for her qualities of always speaking up for what is right. While Maliwal has been nominated for the first time as a candidate to represent the Rajya Sabha, the party has decided to continue with Sanjay Singh and ND Gupta for their second term as upper house members. Sanjay Singh, who is serving imprisonment after being summoned by the ED in a case involving Delhi excise police, has been granted permission by the Delhi Court to sign the renomination papers from jail. 

Legal Ramifications

The timing of these allegations of assault is particularly sensitive, occurring amidst the fervour of the Lok Sabha polls, which are currently in their fourth phase. With just three phases remaining and voting scheduled to conclude on June 1, the looming spectre of legal proceedings adds to the complexity of the Delhi political arena. Kejriwal, slated to surrender the day after voting ends, awaits the outcome of the elections, with results slated for declaration on June 4.

Arvind Kejriwal Swati Maliwal Rajya Sabha AAP
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