Did Maliwal’s refusal to resign as MP to make space for senior lawyer lead to her assault?

New Delhi, May 17 : Since May 13 morning, when the news broke that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Personal Secretary Bibhav Kumar had physically assaulted Swati Maliwal — one of the founding members of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) who served as the chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and is presently an AAP Rajya Sabha MP — at the Chief Minister’s official residence here, the main question that is doing the rounds is what was the provocation for the shameful incident?

The story seemed even more complex because Bibhav Kumar has been working as a close aide to Kejriwal since the latter’s NGO days. And Maliwal had her own stature within that setup for long.

There seems to be something more than the initial details that came out.

Maliwal’s FIR has chilling details of how Bibhav Kumar thrashed her on her chest, abdomen, and pelvic area. Yet, it misses some other details, perhaps because those were not required in the FIR.

Reliable sources told IANS that Maliwal’s refusal to sign a pre-drafted resignation letter to step down as AAP Rajya Sabha MP eventually led to her assault by Kejriwal’s close aide.

The party leadership, the sources said, was keen to give that seat, if vacated by Maliwal, to a senior lawyer who has been fighting Kejriwal’s cases in courts.

In January this year, Maliwal was elected as an AAP Rajya Sabha MP from Delhi whose term will end in 2030.

A victory for whosoever AAP gave the ticket for a by-election (if such a situation arises) for the Rajya Sabha seat looked certain.

Maliwal was abroad when Kejriwal was arrested (in the excise policy case) and was largely absent when other party leaders were issuing various statements on the matter.

Sources said she was asked to return to Delhi and take part in the Lok Sabha poll campaign. But on her return, she wasn’t given any worthwhile assignment, the sources said.

Certain dynamics in AAP have changed since Kejriwal was jailed in the alleged liquor scam. Though Kejriwal remains the unquestioned ‘Boss’ and his word is final in AAP, some new power centres, of whatever capacity, are trying to carve out a space for them, which reportedly had quite a few grouses against Maliwal.

Maliwal wanted to discuss these issues and a few other things with Kejriwal, so she went to the CM’s official residence on the morning of May 13, the sources said.

The sources also said when Maliwal was asked to sign a resignation letter addressed to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, she asked “why her”, as there were nine others from the party in the Rajya Sabha, so why not anyone else?

She was promised something else in the near future. But she flatly refused, the sources said.

In the FIR, Maliwal says “I was constantly screaming for help but no one came. After that, Bibhav Kumar did not relent and attacked me by kicking me repeatedly on my chest, stomach, and pelvis area. I was in extreme pain and kept telling him to stop.

“My shirt was coming up but he continued to assault me. I repeatedly told him that I was having my periods and that he should please let go of me as I was in unbearable pain. However, he attacked me with full force again and again.”

She was reportedly told that Kejriwal was at the residence and would meet her shortly.

This raises a pertinent question — if Kejriwal was at home, didn’t he hear the screams or the commotion of a fight taking place in his drawing room?

Bihav Kumar has not been sacked yet from the post of Private Secretary to the Chief Minister even after the formal registration of an FIR, and the Nation Commission for Women (NCW) issuing notices to him.

He was even spotted with Kejriwal and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh recently, suggesting that Kumar continues to enjoy the confidence of the Chief Minister.

Maliwal’s post on X in Hindi on Friday is also interesting.

She wrote, “Like every time, this time also this political hitman has launched efforts to save himself… Fall to whatever level you can, God is watching everything. One day everyone’s truth will come out in front of the world.”

Maliwal did not name anyone, leaving it to the wisdom of the people to make an informed guess as to who she was referring to.

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