The Aam Aadmi Party was engulfed in fresh and unprecedented controversy on Tuesday as reports emerged in the morning of Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash, the topmost bureaucrat in the state, allegedly being slapped at a meeting at Delhi Chief Minister's residence.
1. The person who allegedly assaulted the Chief Secretary is said to be Arvind Kejriwal's aide and Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Okhla Amanatullah Khan, who has had a controversy-laden political career over the last few years. What's more, Kejriwal was said to be present at the meeting where the assault took place.
2. The Aam Aadmi Party issued a statement rubbishing the allegations by the Chief Secretary as ludicrous and baseless. The party statement claimed that the Chief Secretary had been non-compliant and had even used bad language at a meeting over '2.5 lakh families being deprived of rations due to faulty implementation of Aadhaar' and not over a TV blitzkrieg that Kejriwal’s government wanted to undertake. AAP also blamed the BJP for the entire affair, saying the chief secretary was acting at the party's behest.
3. Accordingly, chief accused Amanatullah spoke to the media echoing the AAP's statement about ration supplies not reaching the poor. He claimed that there were a series of events wherein the Chief Secretary was twisting matters to suit the BJP and alleged that Prakash had stormed out of the meeting despite the efforts of the legislators, including the Chief Minister, who were present.
4. Shortly afterwards, however, Republic TV ascertained an alternate version of what allegedly happened at the meeting. The crux of the argument was apparently a row over the state government's advertisements, with Prakash citing Supreme Court guidelines to throw a spanner in the works of Kejriwal and his MLAs' publicity plans on the third anniversary of the Delhi Government. This reportedly led to a complete breakdown in decency and a one-sided assault on the chief secretary, with Chief Minister Kejriwal, far from calling for an end to the uncivilised behaviour, reportedly egged the MLAs on in their assault.
5. Almost simultaneously, news emerged that the events of the day had triggered protests and chaos in different parts of the national capital. Shameful scenes were witnessed at the Delhi Secretariat, as visuals showed people fighting while a mass of others added to the din. Meanwhile, members of various civil services organisations, including the IAS Association and the Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services (DASS) launched a protest that took them to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's residence. The president of the DASS issued call for a strike, calling the incident a "constitutional crisis".
6. The BJP and the Congress heaped pressure on the Kejriwal government. The Congress' Ajay Maken said that Kejriwal had deliberately triggered the incident in an attempt to shift the blame for the failure of his government on to officers. BJP's Manoj Tiwari, meanwhile, said that the matter was shameful and that Kejriwal would have to answer whether a 'gundon ki sarkaar' was running Delhi. BJP Spokesperson Dr. Sambit Patra held a news conference on the issue. At about the same time, the IAS Association and others issued a statement where they accused the Delhi Chief Minister of consenting to the assault on the chief secretary.
7. The Aam Aadmi Party had a press briefing where they bizarrely only volunteered information on the fighting witnessed at the Delhi Secretariat. Ashish Khetan, who was involved in the fracas, was later quizzed over the events of the previous night, and asked for a credible inquiry, saying there were two versions of events -- the chief secretary's and the MLAs'. He also took aim at the Union Home Minister who had tweeted on the issue by this time, accusing him of already having decreed who the guilty party was.
8. At this point, Republic TV uncovered a case from November 2017 when a top bureaucrat in the Delhi administration had filed a written complaint alleging that Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister had threatened to 'make his life hell' over the issue of advertising in a meeting where the chief secretary was present. Republic TV spoke to the top bureaucrat, Dr Jayadev Sarangi, who confirmed the newsbreak.
9. The Delhi Chief Secretary filed an official complaint over the alleged assault with the DCP North. In his complaint, he described in great detail the manner in which he had been assaulted. Shockingly, he stated, “one of the MLAs firmly shut the door of the room” and then he was “made to sit in between Amanatullah Khan and another person/MLA on a 3 seater sofa.”
“Suddenly Shri Amanatullah Khan, MLA and the person/MLA to my left side, whom I can identify, without any provocation from my side, starting hitting and assaulting me and hit several blows with fists on my head and temple. My spectacles fell on the ground. I was in a state of shock. With difficulty I was able to leave the room and get into my official car and leave CM's residence.”
He also alleged that he was threatened with implication in false cases including under the SC/ST Act, and stated in as many words that none of the persons present in the room made any effort to save him.
10. The Delhi Police filed an FIR based on the complaint against the Delhi Chief Minister's aide Amanatullah Khan and 'others'.
The FIR was filed under IPC 186 (obstructing a public servant from performing his duty), IPC 353 (assaulting a public servant), IPC 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), IPC 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), IPC 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), IPC 506(2) (criminal intimidation), IPC 120b (criminal conspiracy) and IPC 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
11. To end the day, AAP MLA Prakash Jarwal was arrested for assaulting the Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash. However, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan who has been named in the FIR is yet to be arrested.