February 6, 2020 4:30:09 am
THE ELECTION Commission (EC) on Wednesday barred Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo from poll duty, a day after he gave a statement to the media saying that the Shaheen Bagh shooter had joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) last year. The poll panel said Deo’s statement was “totally uncalled for” and could “adversely impact elections”.
“We have recovered photos which show that a year ago, Kapil Baisala and his father had joined AAP. Further investigation is on. Photographs were deleted from his phone, but we recovered them with help from technical experts. When we had questioned him initially, he had told us he joined AAP in the first part of 2019. We are trying to establish the exact date. There are photos that establish this and he has agreed to these photos,” he had said.
Deo’s statement had sparked a political row, with BJP president J P Nadda and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar targeting the AAP, and AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh alleging a conspiracy by Home Minister Amit Shah. The AAP had said it planned to approach the poll panel.
The EC said a “warning” should be issued to Deo, communicating the “displeasure of the Commission on his conduct”. Deo did not respond to calls by The Indian Express.
In its letter to the Commissioner of Police on Wednesday, the EC said it had “considered the matter in its entirety”. “It shall be ensured that Shri Rajesh Deo is not assigned any work/ matter related to the ongoing election to the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi,” it said, asking for a compliance report in this regard by Thursday 6 pm.
“I am directed to say that an incident of Shri Rajesh Deo, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime (SUI&ISC) speaking to the media on February 4, on an investigation which has political connotations has been brought to the notice of the Commission. A report obtained in this connection shows that Shri Deo, referring to an investigation into an incident of a firing in the protest site in Shaheen Bagh, made statement to the media that the accused along with his father had joined a particular political party a year ago and the conspiracy angle will be established,” the EC said.
“The Commission has considered the matter in detail and is of the considered view that the above-referred statements referring to a political party at this stage, even as the investigation is still going on, has the effect of adversely impacting the elections. This action was totally uncalled for. The conduct on the part of Shri Rajesh Deo has consequences on the holding of free and fair elections,” it said.
Following Deo’s remarks on Tuesday, Javadekar had alleged that the incident showed how “AAP instigates youth and misuses them”, while Nadda had said Kejriwal had been “unmasked” and the country would “not forgive those who play with its security”.
AAP’s Singh, who was purportedly seen with Baisala in photos released by the police, shot back: “BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah are using all kinds of tactics and hatching conspiracies. My photo is being used by them today. There are only three-four days to go for elections. Just watch how many more photos and videos they will share. I am shocked that while the model code of conduct is imposed, wherein the Election Commission is supreme, DCP (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo says they have found a photo of AAP members and they are investigating the involvement of others. Is Amit Shah making Deo say this? Or is it someone else? On whose direction did he dare to do this?”
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