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Poster probe leads to AAP, police say were enforcing lockdown guidelines

In a tweet on Sunday, the Delhi Police suggested that the men were primarily picked up for violating lockdown guidelines under the Delhi Disaster Management Act.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
May 17, 2021 12:25:26 am
Delhi Police personnel patrol outside a deserted Jama Masjid. (PTI)

Even as the Aam Aadmi Party said posters critical of the Prime Minister were put up at its behest across the capital, the Delhi Police probe began to reach the same conclusion, with officers saying that in several areas, contracts were assigned by people associated with the party.

Twenty-seven people have been arrested so far, including two AAP workers, and 25 FIRs registered under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and those under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act and Epidemic Act.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Delhi Police suggested that the men were primarily picked up for violating lockdown guidelines under the Delhi Disaster Management Act.

“Police while patrolling to enforce lockdown announced by DDMA, created by GNCTD, noticed walls in several areas being defaced by pasting posters. Accused persons on questioning told an AAP member and President of Ward 47, Arvind Gautam, was behind it in Mangolpuri. He is absconding,” the police tweeted.

In at least three districts, police said they had linked the posters to AAP.

From Outer Delhi’s Mangolpuri area, three people were arrested — Rahul Kumar (26), Rajesh Sharma (38) and Anil Kumar (30).

Delhi Police Spokesperson Chinmoy Biswal said, “An FIR was lodged at Mangolpuri after posters were found in the area. But no details of the printing press/publisher were mentioned. From video footage, the accused were identified — they were seen pasting these posters at 4 am on May 12-13. The accused during questioning disclosed that Arvind Gautam, a resident of Sultanpur Majra and an AAP worker from the area, had sent an order on WhatsApp to Rahul regarding the content to be printed and said he would pay Rs 9,000 for printing and affixing these poster/ hoardings.”

“Rahul runs a graphic designing shop called ‘Mamta Graphics’ and made a digital copy of these posters/hoarding as per the order image received from Gautam. Anil owns an e-rickshaw, from which the hoardings were recovered. Rajesh is the owner of Addline printing press. This order was given by Rahul via email to Rajesh. The printer did not mention the name of press in the footnote of the printed material, and violated DDMA guidelines for running press during the lockdown,” he added.

In Southwest district’s Vasant Vihar, two men — Subir Das (20) and Shubhankar Mandal (21) — were arrested on May 14 while placing a banner.

“During questioning, they told police they are associated with an NGO, ‘Abhishek Janshakti’, and they were placing these banners in Vasant Vihar. They were asked to do so by one Abhishek Jain, the NGO’s founder, and given Rs 300 each. Police found that Jain is associated with AAP and is unwell at the moment,” an official said.

Biswal said in the South district, similar posters were found pasted in JJ Colony Khanpur on May 13.

“During investigation, we zeroed in on two AAP workers, Santosh Kumar (41) and Mayank (42), using CCTV footage. From their interrogation, we found that one Sanjay Chaudhary, former AAP councillor candidate, was behind these posters.”

In the West District, five persons were arrested. During investigation, it was revealed that the posters were being put up on the directions of AAP worker Prashant Kumar, who was working with AAP member Rakesh Joshi. Joshi has joined the investigation, Biswal said.

Police also arrested four men from East Delhi’s Kalyanpuri and they too, during questioning, claimed an AAP councillor had given them the work, said police.

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