"Join BJP or ED will arrest you", AAP's Atishi claims, says won't betray Kejriwal

"Join BJP or ED will arrest you", AAP's Atishi claims, says won't betray Kejriwal
Image source: ANI

New Delhi, India: Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Minister Atishi on Tuesday alleged that she was approached by the Bharatiya Janata Party to join them or else she'd be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the coming days.

While addressing a press conference here, the AAP leader said, "The BJP, through one of my close aides, approached me to join their party to save my political career, and if I do not join the BJP, then in the coming month, I will be arrested by the ED."

The AAP leader accused the BJP-led Centre of trying to threaten the party by using probe agencies.

"I want to tell the BJP that we will not be scared of you. We are the soldiers of Arvind Kejriwal. We are aides of Bhagat Singh. We will continue to save the Constitution and will work to give the people a better life under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal," she said.

She further alleged that in the coming two months before the general elections, a few more leaders, including Raghav Chadha and Saurabh Bharadwaj, will be arrested by the central probe agency.

"The BJP and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are targeting senior AAP leaders as they have realised the party will not break despite CM Arvind Kejriwal's arrest. In the coming two months before the Lok Sabha elections, they will arrest 4 more AAP leaders: Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak, Raghav Chadha and me," Atishi alleged.

When asked about the ED's statement mentioning her and Saurabh Bharadwaj's names in court, the AAP leader said, "The ED took Saurabh Bharadwaj and my name in court, on the basis of a statement that is available with the ED and CBI for one and a half years; this statement is in the charge sheet of the ED. This statement is also in the charge sheets of CBI, so what was the reason for raising this statement? The reason for raising this statement was that now the BJP feels that despite Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, and Satyendra Jain being in jail, the Aam Aadmi Party is still united and strong. Now they are planning to put the next line of leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party in jail."

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate apprised the court on Monday that during the recording of a statement in custody, Arvind Kejriwal stated that his interaction with former communication-in-charge of the AAP, Vijay Nair, was limited as he only reported to party leaders Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj.

According to the ED submission in court, the statements of Vijay Nair himself reveal that he stayed in a Cabinet Minister's bungalow and worked from the camp office of the Chief Minister.

It was also put to the arrestee to explain why someone, who reported to other leaders of AAP, works from his camp office, which anyway is meant for the work of the CM of Delhi and not for the party, the central agency said.

ED further mentioned to the court that Arvind Kejriwal evaded replying to this by claiming unawareness of the persons who work at the CM Camp office.

It is noteworthy that Vijay Nair is not some small-time volunteer of AAP but is its head of media and communications. He was also shown different WhatsApp chats showing the involvement of Vijay Nair, who was a close associate of the arrestee and lived and worked very closely with the arrestee. The arrestee has not answered the questions posed to him by questioning the authenticity of the digital evidence shown to him, ED stated.

ED, while moving an application to send Kejriwal to judicial custody, told the court that Arvind Kejriwal also did not reveal the passwords of his digital devices, which inhibits evidence collection and also shows the non-cooperation of the arrestee.

According to the ED submission, the arrestee, Arvind Kejriwal, was shown evidence of more than 10 meetings of Vijay Nair with other co-accused persons involved in the liquor business, including liquor manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and even middlemen like Dinesh Arora and Abhishek Boinpally.

The Rouse Avenue Court on Monday sent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15 in an alleged money laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy case.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was later scrapped.

While Kejriwal was not named in the FIRs registered by the ED or the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case, his name first found a mention in the ED's chargesheet, wherein the agency claimed that he allegedly spoke to one of the main accused, Sameer Mahendru, in a video call and asked him to continue working with co-accused and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair.

Nair was among the first people to be arrested by the CBI in the case, in 2022. Subsequently, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested in connection with the case.