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Nirmala Sitharaman Slams Arvind Kejriwal In Swati Maliwal Assault Incident

Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday criticized Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal regarding the Swati Maliwal assault incident.

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Highlighting that the alleged assault occurred inside Kejriwal’s residence while Maliwal was waiting to meet him, Sitharaman stated, “This cannot be ignored. The incident took place inside Arvind Kejriwal’s home in his presence, involving his close aide.”

She urged the Aam Aadmi Party leader, who has yet to comment, to apologize. She also noted Kejriwal’s appearance with Bibhav Kumar, the accused aide, at a joint opposition press conference in Lucknow this week.

Sitharaman mentioned past incidents involving AAP leaders and violence against women, pointing out Somnath Bharti, who had previously been accused of assaulting his pregnant wife. She criticized the Congress for supporting Bharti due to their alliance with AAP.

“Delhi is questioning the Chief Minister’s commitment to women’s safety… they are observing closely,” Sitharaman remarked, adding, “Chief Minister Kejriwal is anti-women… is supporting assault against a woman.”

She also condemned AAP for not fielding any female candidates in Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats.

AAP has not yet responded to Sitharaman’s comments.

A police case was filed against Bibhav Kumar late Thursday after a Delhi Police team spoke to Maliwal at her residence; she had been unreachable since the assault on Monday.

Kumar, whom Maliwal has accused of slapping her seven times and kicking her in the chest and stomach, faces charges of assault, criminal intimidation, and outraging a woman’s modesty. He also received a summons from the National Commission of Women.

In her first public statement since the assault, Maliwal said on X (formerly Twitter), “What happened to me was very bad… the last few days have been very difficult.”

Swati Maliwal, an AAP Rajya Sabha MP and former Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, was allegedly assaulted by Kumar at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh confirmed the “distressing incident” a day later, noting that Kejriwal had ordered strict action.

The police confirmed receiving two calls from within Kejriwal’s residence—both from a number registered to Maliwal—reporting the harassment. She later appeared at a police station but did not file a complaint.

The alleged assault has sparked strong reactions from the BJP against Kejriwal, who was released on bail last week to campaign in the general election after his March arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the liquor policy case. The BJP claims Kejriwal is protecting his aide, with these accusations intensifying after he avoided reporters’ questions on the matter.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the only major opposition figure to comment so far, stated, “I always stand with women, irrespective of which party they belong to.”

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