Updated: July 20, 2020 11:38:00 am
With the elected government and the Lt Governor sparring over the appointment of public prosecutors to argue cases related to the February communal riots cases in Delhi, the AAP on Sunday alleged that the violence, which claimed 53 lives, was “engineered” by the BJP, which had hatched a “deep conspiracy” ahead of the Assembly polls in the Capital.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh made the allegations during a press conference, where he highlighted the ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal over the latter’s insistence that six public prosecutors recommended by the Delhi Police will argue the riot-related cases.
“The riots in Delhi were an outcome of a deep conspiracy by the BJP. The riots were engineered by the BJP. I am maintaining this from day one and reiterating today. I said this in Parliament as well that the BJP organised the riots. And the police, which comes under the MHA, did not take any action,” Singh told reporters.
Editorial | After the riot
Singh’s attack on the BJP comes amid a push by his party to emerge as an alternative to the Congress on the national stage — the party has been holding regular media briefings to attack the Congress, which, it maintains, has lost its relevance and credibility, especially against the backdrop of the Rajasthan drama.
The AAP has been guarded on the issue of the riots since the beginning, with its top leadership facing criticism for not visiting Northeast Delhi in the initial days after the violence. Barring Sanjay Singh, the work of outreach among victims was left to Delhi Assembly fellows and professionals working with the party.
It had also refrained from commenting on the probe into riot cases. Singh’s statement, though, marks a departure from that position, with the party showing keenness to take the BJP head on, and also casting aspersions on the police investigation.
On Sunday, Singh, who is one of the three Rajya Sabha MPs of the AAP, said, “The police is not filing chargesheets in some cases, filing weak chargesheets in some, strong in some, writing extra things in some cases, hiding the truth in some,” Singh said. He said the BJP wants lawyers of its choice to be appointed in order to “suppress the dark deeds and shield the dark faces” who were involved in the violence.
“Why is the BJP so desperate to engage them in the riots cases? What is it trying to achieve? Its only objective is to shield the dark faces, the dark deeds, the crimes committed by the BJP. This is why the BJP government and the L-G are so desperate to get those lawyers appointed. We have lodged our protest. We want unbiased investigation and a fair trial. You must have seen even the court has pulled up (the police) in the recent past,” Singh said.
The L-G House had in a statement on Saturday dismissed apprehension that a fair probe will be impaired with the appointment of PPs of the police’s choice.
“It is beyond doubt that the PP represents the state by virtue of his office. At the same time, he is also an officer of the court and is required to render assistance to the court to arrive at a just and equitable decision… there is no reason to imagine that the PPs appointed wouldn’t perform their duty fearlessly and impartially as officers of the court,” the statement had said.
The L-G House maintains that Baijal is the competent authority to appoint Special Public Prosecutors on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, which was upheld by the Delhi HC in 2016 as well as the Supreme Court in 2019.
“However, in case of difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and his Ministers, he is not bound by the said aid and advice and can invoke the proviso to Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution,” say officials in the L-G House.
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, who was also present at the press conference, said: “Why do they want lawyers who would work as spokespersons of the BJP in court? The appointment of PPs in every criminal case is an exclusive right of the Delhi government,” he said.
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