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Unprecedented Modi

Raids conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office on Tuesday morning has kicked up a huge political storm. The issue resonated in both the Houses of Parliament, with the Opposition alleging “serious attack on federal polity” even as the NDA-government insisted that the investigation had nothing do with Kejriwal but pertained to an official in his office.

In a late night development on Tuesday, the CBI detained Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Rajender Kumar and his wife Nandani Sahai. The couple were taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning and subsequently released after three hours. Meanwhile, CBI sleuths continued to search Kumar’s Delhi Secretariat office till late evening.

The issue was raised by the Trinamool Congress in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, leading to uproar and ruckus as Opposition members alleged that an “undeclared emergency” had been imposed. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded in both the Houses, saying the members should not be “misled” as the CBI raid had nothing to do with Kejriwal or his tenure but pertained to a particular official in the CM’s Office against whom complaint had been registered before the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power. To this, Kejriwal tweeted: “FM lied in Parliament. My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajender is an excuse.”

In Lok Sabha, the issue was raised by TMC leader Saugata Roy, who said it is “not only religious intolerance but the present government also follows political intolerance. If the CBI is used as a tool to raid a CM’s Office, it is a matter of shame. It is a serious attack on federal polity of the country.”

It all began with Kejriwal’s tweet, saying: “CBI raids my office.” After this, followed a series of tweets, wherein he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying: “When Modi could not handle me politically, he resorts to this cowardice. Modi is a coward and psychopath.”

Kejriwal also got support from his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee. She tweeted: “Sealing of a Chief Minister’s office is unprecedented. I am shocked.”

Even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar echoed her thoughts and said: “It’s a matter of utter surprise. It has breached the decency in the relationship between the Centre and the state government.”

Kejriwal, on the other hand, alleged that the day-long action by the probe agency was to look for an inquiry committee file relating to the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) that “traps” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“It has become necessary to reveal that why did the CBI come to my office today (Tuesday) and which was the file they were looking for. This is the DDCA file under which Arun Jaitley is getting trapped. (Ye file hai DDCA ka file jiske andar Arun Jaitley phas rahe hain),” Kejriwal claimed.

Kejriwal said his government had set up an inquiry committee to probe alleged irregularities in the DDCA, which had submitted its report. “Jaitley was the DDCA president for many years and I had set up a committee to probe all the corruption that has taken place during his tenure. The committee has submitted its report and a commission of inquiry was to be set up over it, and a file pertaining to it was in my office,” he alleged.

The CBI had earlier clarified that it carried out searches at the office of Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajender Kumar’s office at the Delhi Secretariat and not that of the Chief Minister. The action was in connection with allegations against Kumar of favouring private companies in awarding government contracts from 2007 to 2014.

The Chief Minister said the sole motive of the raid was to “target me” and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise to the nation for his “misdeeds”, saying only then he will tender apololgy for calling him “coward and a psychopath”.

After a meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and senior AAP leaders that lasted around two hours, Kejriwal said the Centre will not be able to scare him and that he will continue to fight till his last breath. “They have no interest in the contracts awarded by Rajender. If he had awarded contracts in 2007, what were you doing till 2015 Modiji? It’s been long that your government has come,” he said.

“I want to tell you Modiji, you have scared others through the CBI but Kejriwal won’t get scared. You know what am I made of. I will fight for the country till my last breath but will never get intimidated. Modiji’s use of the CBI and other means won’t scare me, I want to tell him clearly,” Kejriwal added.

“They say that my choice of words was incorrect, but your actions are bad. My words may be bad, I was born in Siwan village of Haryana. Maybe my words were bad. But your actions are bad. You apologise to the nation for your misdeeds and I will apologise for my words,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday after the raids, Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia said: “Today the CBI is being misused in the same way it was misused during the Congress rule. The Centre is spreading terror with CBI.” Calling it a black day for Delhi’s democracy, Sisodia said the Central government is interfering with the work of the Delhi government.

“The CBI has raided the office where all the files of the Chief Minister were kept. There were affidavits which had to be filed in court. How can they say that this is not an action against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal?” asked Sisodia.
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