Another controversy: Delhi CS, AAP trade accusations on assault

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday alleged that he was hit by two AAP MLAs in a meeting at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, triggering a major row that also saw the manhandling of Environment Minister Imran Hussain and another AAP leader by a crowd inside the Secretariat here.

The BJP and the Congress attacked the AAP based on the Chief Secretary's allegations, with the BJP demanding Kejriwal's resignation and the Congress asking for the AAP chief's apology.

The AAP hit back by stating that the Chief Secretary was making false allegations and said he was working at the "behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)".

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed Prakash's allegations "baseless" and said that "it is his (Prakash) version of the story".

The Home Ministry sought a report from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "deeply pained" by the development.

AAP sources told IANS that Monday night's meeting had turned into a very heated argument, but said that the Chief Secretary was not attacked.

Prakash on Tuesday alleged that he was hit by AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan and another party MLA, whom he can identify, in front of the Chief Minister at Kejriwal's residence on Monday midnight, where he was called for a meeting.

In a police complaint filed on Tuesday, Prakash said: "Amanatullah Khan, MLA, and the person/MLA on my left side, whom I can identify, without any provocation from my side, starting hitting and assaulting me and threw several blows with fists on my head and temple."

The meeting was attended by Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and 11 MLAs, according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, the Delhi Environment Minister was manhandled by a crowd which gathered outside the door of a lift inside the Delhi Secretariat and his Assistant Personal Secretary was beaten up, according to multiple video clips from the Secretariat.

In one of the videos, his Assistant Personal Secretary can be seen being manhandled by the crowd near the lift door. In the same video, Hussain was seen being manhandled by the crowd and later taken to safety by staff, as the violent crowd tried to reach him.

In another video, Hussain was seen trapped inside the same lift with the violent crowd shouting and many asking him to come out. A person standing at the lift door was seen holding off the crowd from barging inside by force and securing the Minister.

AAP leader Ashish Khetan alleged that he was also manhandled by the same crowd shouting "BJP zindabad" and "maaro maaro" and claimed that the Delhi Police did not try to intervene.

Khetan said that the Secretariat was supposed to be a "high-security zone" and alleged that the Delhi Police did not do anything when the mob tried to attack him and later Hussain.

"Under whose instructions did this happen? Who instigated them?" he asked while addressing the media. Khetan and Hussain filed separate police complaints on the assaults.

The Chief Secretary in his police complaint said that he was called for a meeting around midnight on Monday on the "difficulty in release of certain TV advertisements relating to completion of three years of the government of Delhi".

Prakash said he was taken to a room and one of the MLAs closed the door. He was seated on a three-seater sofa between Khan and another MLA, whom he could identify.

"The MLAs started shouting at me and abused me while blaming me and the bureaucracy for not doing enough for the publicity of the government," the complaint said.

Prakash said that he was attacked after this without any provocation.

"With difficulty I was able to leave the room and get into my official car and leave the CM residence," the Chief Secretary said. "None of the persons present in the room made any effort to save me."

But the AAP said that the meeting at Kejriwal's residence was on the "faulty implementation" of Aadhaar that "deprived about 2.5 lakh families of ration" and not on advertisements.

The party said that the Chief Secretary refused to answer questions, saying he was not answerable to MLAs or the Chief Minister but only to the Lt Governor.

"He even used foul language against some MLAs and left without answering any questions," the AAP said in a statement.

On Tuesday afternoon, IAS Association Secretary Manisha Saxena, after a meeting with the Lt Governor and Prakash, termed the attack as a "planned criminal conspiracy" against the top bureaucrat in Delhi.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Saxena said they have asked the Lt Governor to take strict action against the accused MLAs and the officers would work on Tuesday with a black band as a mark of protest.

Meanwhile, AAP's Ambedkar Nagar MLA Ajay Dutt on Tuesday filed a police complaint against Prakash for making "casteist remarks" during Monday night's meeting at Kejriwal's residence.

Delhi Police Chief Spokesperson Dependra Pathak said that the police has filed separate FIRs based on Prakash's and Hussain's complaints.



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