Delhi police Tuesday detained a 41-year-old man who lunged at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outside his chamber in the Delhi Secretariat, broke his spectacles and tried to smear his face with chilli powder before being whisked away by security personnel.
Police have identified the accused as Anil Kumar Sharma, who claims to be working with a Gurgaon firm.
According to AAP leader Raghav Chadha, who was accompanying the Chief Minister, the incident took place around 2.25 pm when Kejriwal was leaving the Secretariat, a “high-security zone”, to have lunch.
An eight-second CCTV clip of the incident shows Sharma approaching Kejriwal, who is walking towards the lift on the third floor of the Secretariat, where his official chamber is located. As Kejriwal stops, the man comes forward and hands over a piece of paper, which the Chief Minister passes on to his aide.
When Kejriwal, who is accompanied by a few policemen, turns to walk away, the man bends to touch his feet and immediately lunges at the Chief Minister, trying to smear his face using his left hand. “His hand landed on the CM’s face, dislodging his spectacles. One piece of glass remained on the hand of the accused and the other fell off,” Chadha told The Indian Express.
The accused, who was carrying chilli powder in a sachet of paan masala, also tried to pour its contents on Kejriwal, but most of it fell on the floor as three security personnel present at the spot caught hold of him.
“The man entered the Secretariat at 12.41 pm through Gate Number 6. He was authorised by the Public Grievances Monitoring System cell. He was frisked, but we don’t usually bar people from carrying gutkha packets. After entering, he went to the grievance cell and then to the CM’s waiting room. He was carrying a paper, which said he should meet the CM. There was no security lapse as he had the required authorisation to enter the Secretariat and police intervened at the right time,” DCP Madhur Verma said. The government is yet to file a police complaint.
A private security guard posted outside the CM’s chamber said Kejriwal had emerged from a meeting when the incident happened. “The man sat in the waiting room for quite some time and hurriedly walked out when he saw the CM leaving,” the guard said. The third floor also houses the room where Cabinet meetings are held.
An aide of Kejriwal said the man managed to get access from the PGMS cell after claiming that a relative of him needs treatment.
The attack on Kejriwal, which comes barely two weeks after the ruckus during the inauguration of the Signature Bridge when bottles were thrown towards him, evoked a strong reaction from the Aam Aadmi Party.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the incident was an outcome of a “conspiracy hatched by the BJP with the Delhi Police”. “Today it was chilli powder. It could have been a pistol or acid. The questions is how do such incidents happen so frequently? This could not have been possible without the Delhi Police being in cahoots with the BJP,” Sisodia said.
Additional DCP (Central) Amit Sharma claimed that Kejriwal’s spectacles fell when the security men tried to remove the accused. “Subsequently, security personnel removed him and found that he was carrying a pouch, apparently containing chilli powder, in his hand, which got torn. Sharma has been detained for further questioning,” the officer said.