Protesting against what they called “raids” on call centres hired by them, Aam Aadmi Party leaders Friday sat on a dharna outside the Election Commission (EC) office. The protest was led by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and attended by Sanjay Singh, Atishi and Raghav Chadha.
Leaders alleged the raids were taking place at BJP’s behest and people questioned without warrants or notices.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra met the AAP leaders Friday, and later arranged for a meeting between them and the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and Delhi Police officers to discuss the issue.
According to sources, the Commission made it clear to the AAP delegation that it doesn’t have the power to interfere in a police investigation. However, it agreed to set up a team, comprising the state’s special CEO and a few more officers, to look into AAP’s allegations. This team has been asked to submit its report in two weeks.
After meeting the CEO, Sisodia sought to suggest that the EC would take over the police enquiry. “We are grateful to EC for agreeing to our demands and have taken the enquiry under their control. The enquiry will be conducted by an independent official,” Sisodia claimed on Twitter.
Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
“We told the EC we had hired call centres to make calls. Getting someone’s name added to the electoral roll is not a crime. Police agreed that they had gone to the call centres but said they were not raids. We have told EC that action by police must stop. If they think we have done something illegal, the EC should enquire,” Sisodia tweeted.
AAP had hired four call centres to make calls to people and tell them that their names were missing from electoral rolls, and that the party had got them added. The EC filed a complaint with the Delhi police recently, asking them to find out who was making the calls.
According to the commission, only it can remove or add names to the rolls. Officials also said that in cases where names of people were removed from the list, it was done after following due procedure.
Satish Golcha, Special Commissioner of Police, Crime and EOW said: “We registered an FIR following complaints regarding bogus calls about Delhi’s electoral rolls. Investigations are underway. As far as the allegations against us are concerned, we have already given our response to the EC. No call centre owners have filed a complaint regarding harassment by our investigating team members. The investigation is being conducted strictly in accordance with the law.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP leaders, including leader of opposition Vijender Gupta, also met the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi at his office, demanding action against AAP for alleged model code violation by running call centres and “misusing the illegally collected data from government school students and utility bills”.