AAP claims Delhi Police spying on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday alleged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was being spied on by the Delhi Police with its Special Cell officials in plainclothes “roaming around” his residence the whole day, a claim denied by the force.

AAP chief spokesperson and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj told a press conference here the party’s Rajya Sabha MPs Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh have written to Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora in connection with the matter.

Police sources rejected the charges of spying, saying Special Branch officials, and not Special Cell officials, are deployed for assessing security arrangements around the houses of dignitaries as part of a protocol.

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“Special Branch officers are like the eyes and ears of Delhi Police. They carry out an assessment of threat, like whether the security personnel are doing their job properly, checking visitors, keeping a vigil or not,” a source said.

“They prepare a report on such things and submit them to their seniors. Their job is to see whether the local police and security personnel are doing their job properly. They assess the area and security arrangements around the houses of other dignitaries too. It is part of protocol and not spying,” the source said.

The Delhi BJP, meanwhile, alleged the AAP was making the claim to divert people’s attention from the “scam” in the renovation of Kejriwal’s official residence.

Addressing the media, Bharadwaj said, “In the last two days, our MPs have written letters on a very serious issue.”

He then read out from the similar letters written by the MPs.

“I would like to draw your attention to a serious issue. Delhi’s people have made Kejriwal CM thrice. There have been security lapses and he has been attacked. Police are supposed to protect the citizens. But it’s sad that they are not able to keep even the chief minister safe. Few days back, a drone was spotted near his residence but no one was arrested in connection with the incident,” he said.

The MPs, he said, have further pointed out that some officers of Delhi Police’s Special Cell have been roaming around Kejriwal’s residence for the whole day.

Bharadwaj added, “When asked, they said they are on a special task. What special task is this? Is the Delhi chief minister being spied upon? Under which law is the Delhi Police spying on its own CM? They are keeping an eye on people coming to the CM’s residence.”

The MPs also flagged the deteriorating law and order situation in the national capital.

“Why is Delhi Police not protecting the CM but spying on him? Is it not illegal? What is the purpose of this? The matter is very serious. We are not objecting to what they are doing. We have objections on what the Centre is asking them to do,” he said, alleging a political conspiracy.

He said the BJP wants to finish the AAP.

“Our differences with the PM are known to the world. The PM wants to end the chief minister politically. They want to end AAP and these events raise serious questions. They have to answer these questions — What is the special task given to the plainclothes policemen?”

When Bharadwaj was asked whether the presence of policemen was indicative of enhanced security around the CM’s residence following the drone incident, he said the person whose security was being beefed up would have been at least informed.

“A senior officer will brief the CM and will ask, ‘What do you want?’ The PM requires more security than the CM. So, is the police also spying outside the PM residence? If the same is being there, we can accept it. No policeman can roam in the area around PM’s residence,” he said.

A Special Cell officer said the staff has the responsibility of maintaining law and order and assessing security measures for the chief minister and other VIPs. “The officers had furnished their ID cards when they were asked to. These are baseless allegations,” the official added.

Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the charges levelled by AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Saurabh Bhardwaj is their “last ditch attempt” to divert attention from the bungalow renovation and liquor “scams”.

“Aam Aadmi Party’s leaders are frustrated as the public perception and image of common man built by their leader Arvind Kejriwal has totally eroded and today when all their efforts to divert public attention from Raj Mahal scam have failed they have popped up this allegation of spying outside the CM House,” he said.

Kapoor said AAP leaders should realise the Delhi Police provides security to Kejriwal and they don’t need to deploy extra staff if they want to keep a watch him.

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