New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, a Delhi Police team on Friday seized a hard disk containing CCTV footage from the residence of Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the chief secretary's "assault" incident, while the chief minister knocked on the Lieutenant Governor's (LG) doors to ensure that the government's work was not hit due to the boycott by bureaucrats, even as the Centre hinted that the AAP supremo might be questioned in the case.
A total of 21 CCTV cameras and a hard disk were examined by the police.
The hard disk was seized and any possibility of "tampering" with the system could be ascertained only after forensic examinations, Additional DCP (North) Harendra Singh said, adding that there was a time-lag of 40-43 minutes with respect to the time of the alleged incident.
He added that 14 CCTV cameras were working, while seven were not.
The woes of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government did not end there as former bureaucrat Dhir Jhingran resigned from its State Advisory Council For Education to express solidarity with Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, who was allegedly assaulted by some AAP MLAs.
To make things worse for the ruling dispensation, the party's legislator from Narela, Naresh Balyan, triggered a fresh controversy by saying officers, who created hurdles in the works meant for people's welfare, should be beaten up, days after Prakash alleged that he was assaulted by the AAP MLAs.
Meanwhile, Union minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir hinted that Kejriwal might be questioned by the police in connection with the alleged assault on the bureaucrat.
"Whosoever it may be, the police will question all those in whose presence the incident took place," he told reporters in New Delhi.
The AAP accused the Delhi Police of acting like a bully at the behest of the Centre by "illegally" entering the chief minister's house and alleged that the action was aimed at "insulting and humiliating" Kejriwal.
Without taking the name of the BJP or its leaders, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said it was "unfortunate" that some "dictators" and people with the mentality of "hooligans" had captured power, be it in Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.
"The dadagiri by the Delhi Police at Arvind Kejriwal's residence is being done at the behest of the BJP.
The Delhi Police is a mere puppet, but the Centre is resorting to such dadagiri to dismiss the Delhi government," he said.
At a press conference, the AAP also showed a two-and-a-half-minute clip, in which senior police officials were seen inside the residence of the chief minister, purportedly asking questions about the wall paint of the room.
The police claimed that its action (of dispatching a team to Kejriwal's house to collect evidence) came after its request for CCTV footage from the chief minister's residence "was not met".
The timing of the presence of the chief secretary at the chief minister's residence is important because Prakash has claimed that he was called at midnight and assaulted.
The AAP, on the other hand, has claimed that Prakash had reached the chief minister's residence at 11.25 PM.
"The time-lag of the CCTV cameras corroborates that the complainant was at the CM's residence at midnight (12.05 AM) and not at 11.25 PM, as was the plea of the AAP in the court," a top Delhi Police official said.
If the time-lag of 40 minutes was added to 11.25 PM, it would match the time the chief secretary claimed to have reached Kejriwal's residence, he added.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues met Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal and said the latter had assured them that he would take all steps to ensure that the officers started functioning normally.
The bureaucrats in the Delhi government had earlier decided to boycott all the meetings called by the ministers.
"Officers not attending meetings for last 3 days. Governance suffering. I m v concerned. LG assured he will take all steps to ensure officers started functioning normally. Council of ministers assured him all cooperation. All of us need to work together for betterment of Delhi (sic)," Kejriwal tweeted after the meeting with the LG. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Baijal had assured them that he would speak to the bureaucrats.
However, the LG sent out a very strong statement after the meeting.
"The Lt Governor strongly condemned the incidents and termed them as most unfortunate. The Lt Governor noted that no government can fulfil its promises to the people if the employees feel demoralised and insecure. There is no place for violence in a democratic and civilised society. Steps need to be taken to remove the mistrust between the government employees and the elected government, so that the development of Delhi and public interest do not get adversely affected," an official statement from the LG's office said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of IAS officers working under the Delhi government met Union minister Jitendra Singh and put forward their grievances, following the alleged attack on Prakash.
After the meeting, Singh said, "We have heard the members of the delegation. We took cognisance of all the grievances and concerns raised by them and necessary steps will be taken."
The officers had submitted a memorandum, listing some of their demands, and necessary action would be taken on it, he added. The BJP launched an attack against Kejriwal and said his decision to call the chief secretary at his residence and the alleged physical assault on him was a case of “bullying and thuggery”.