Preeti Sharma Menon, the National Executive Member and spokesperson of AAP spoke to Sabrang India about 19 of the 22 cases being discharged against AAP MLAs, the witch hunt by the PMO, vindictive agenda of the ruling party and the utter wastage of national resources, taxpayers’ money and judiciary’s time in false cases.
New Delhi: 19 Delhi MLAs from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) out of 22 were acquitted by the fast track court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal in the last five months. Sabrang India spoke to Preeti Sharma Menon, the National Executive Member and spokesperson of AAP about the witch hunt, vindictive agenda of the ruling party and the utter wastage of national resources, taxpayers’ money and judiciary’s time in false cases.
According to court records, a total of 144 cases being heard in six district courts of Delhi against sitting MP and MLAs of various political parties were transferred to ACMM Vishal’s court. In the court records examined by The Indian Express, it was seen that many sitting MPs and MLAs were discharged or acquitted in 19 out of 22 cases filed by various security agencies.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, transport minister Kailash Gahlot, former minister Asim Ahmed Khan and Kumar Vishwas are among the AAP leaders getting relief in the 19 cases. The reasons cited by the courts for the acquittals among others include lack of evidence, “inordinate delays” in registering FIRs, filing chargesheet on the “basis of presumption” and “groundless allegations.” In five cases, ACMM Vishal cited late filing of chargesheet without any cogent explanation by Delhi Police.
“It is clear that Modi can use any state machinery and institution for vindictive purposes. He can use CBI and other national agencies against his opponents. He was not able to digest the ‘insult’ of 2014 when AAP won the majority in Legislative Assembly elections. The CMs office (Arvind Kejriwal) was raided twice while in office, CBI charged him with an offence where he was accused of taking a bribe of Rs. 2 crore. Nothing was found in any of these raids and the accusations were false. The Lieutenant Governor is hand in glove with the central government. When AAP MLAs were acquitted, he called the Delhi Police chief and reprimanded them asking why did they get the acquittals,” she said.
“AAP is a unique force in Indian politics without any dynasty or black money politics. Ordinary people can participate and AAP has students, lawyers and even housewives fighting elections. AAP won because the common man wanted a change. It is a threat to any big traditional party, against black money and against dynasty politics. Politics today has become a fiefdom with vindictive agendas controlled by the PMO’s office.
She brought up an incident where state resources were wasted to arrest an MLA in Surat when he was any way returning to the Capital. “In various judgements, the courts have slammed the Delhi Police for wasting their time and bringing forth cases with no merit. The police force is solely focussed on filing or inventing false cases against the MLAs and arresting them wherever they may be. The centre deliberately subverts resources and law meant to protect the masses to waste elected members’ time. I was in Surat with MLA Gulab Singh of Matiala constituency organising a rally. A case was filed in Delhi against him and the police force was dispatched to arrest him in Surat and bring him to Delhi. He was returning in a few days because he is an elected MLA and would go back to work in his constituency, but the police had to waste resources. They were treating him akin to a terrorist, a murderer or a most wanted criminal. Singh was acquitted in the false case filed against him. What good did this move do?” she said.
The Delhi Police has filed a case against Chief Minister Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and eleven AAP MLAs under a range of charges like Section 186 (obstructing a public servant), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant for doing his duty), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant to discharge his duties), 504 (insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506(ii), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (punishment of abetment, if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express is made for its punishment), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 149 (unlawful assembly), 34 (common intention) and 36 (effect caused partly by act and partly by omission).
She was aghast at the blatant misuse of power to extract imagined revenge instead of letting the systems serve the public. “We need to speak up or we will also become victims to this vindictive and evil agenda. If a student youth leader can be shot in broad daylight in the safest of places in Delhi, that too just two days before Independence Day, and so close to the Parliament, what hope do the rest of us have? If they can do this near Constitution house, they can shoot anyone anywhere. The systems meant to protect women, control law and order situations are being used for petty grievances. Road rage incidents in Delhi are rising, it is known as the rape capital, people are shot, and the Delhi Police? It files false cases against elected government officials, arrests them and makes them pointlessly do several rounds of the court. Another case has been filed again against CM Kejriwal, this time for obstructing a public servant. We know it is a false case and this too shall be discharged. What we find problematic is the wastage of national resources, time and taxpayer’s money,” she said.
Even though they have been acquitted, Menon said that the news hasn’t spread like it did when they were accused of misdemeanours. “The damage is done. It is not easy to get heard. Good news doesn’t travel as fast as bad news does. Somnath Bharti was assaulted by a group of people, including women while he was in office. A molestation case was filed against him and he was arrested, all stops were pulled out to tarnish his image. He was also acquitted and discharged, but do we hear about it as much? The Media is in a state of fear with what has been happening to their peers. It has become exceedingly clear that journalists and editors don’t matter much, it is the media owners who are hand in glove with the central govt and are subverting fact. With an IT cell and 200 recruits just for monitoring and controlling media content, it comes as no surprise,” she said.
The response of the media also worried her. “This is how German media responded before Nazi’s came to power and this is how the Rwandan journalism behaved before the genocide which wiped out Tutsis. When media fuels hysteria and hatred, the govt gets away with undemocratic things,” said the AAP spokesperson.
She was also saddened by the reactions of other political parties and peers. “The sad part is that Congress gushes and glees when AAP MLAs find themselves in trouble like this. I urge everyone to unite against the evil draining our country and rise above party politics for the good of our nation. We supported Congress when the state elections in Goa, Karnataka and Manipur were subverted. We stood up for them. We need to break away from the political division. We are living in scary times. It’s time that Indian politics wakes up and realises that the country is above the party,” she concluded.