Chilli powder attack: AAP fumes at cops' version, claims BJP conspiracy
New Delhi, Nov 20: A man threw chilli powder at Arvind Kejriwal outside his office in the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday, an attack the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) described as "politically motivated" while asserting that the BJP is hatching a conspiracy in collusion with Delhi Police to attack the chief minister.
Delhi Police, however, issued a statement recounting the incident but did not specify whether the man threw chilli powder. The statement mentioned that the man possessed a pouch which apparently contained chilli powder.
Even as the man behind the attack - Anil Kumar Sharma - was detained, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said his party would not be "cowed" by these "petty tactics" by the BJP.
Police said 40-year-old Sharma, a resident of Naraina, has been detained for questioning.
While the AAP blamed the BJP for the alleged attack, the Delhi chief of the saffron party Manoj Tiwari said such incidents "cannot be tolerated or justified by anybody" and called for a high-level probe.
Officials said Kumar was targeting the bespectacled chief minister's eyes.
Kejriwal's spectacles broke but his eyes seemed to have been spared any damage, they added.
Kumar, whose Aadhaar card has been recovered, brought the chilli powder to the secretariat in packets of 'khaini', or chewing tobacco, they said. After throwing red pepper powder on Kejriwal, Kumar threatened to shoot him after he comes out of jail, an official recounted.
The incident took place outside the Chief Minister's chamber on the third floor when he was leaving for lunch.
AAP's national spokesperson Raghav Chadha, who was behind Kejriwal when the incident took place tweeted, "Was right behind CM @ArvindKejriwal at the Secretariat when he was suddenly attacked, on 3rd floor right outside his office.
Shocking lapse of security. Is this Delhi Police's incompetent effort to protect an elected CM?
"While today just the CM's glasses fell to the floor and broke, an unacceptable security lapse nonetheless. Imagine if attacker were to be wielding a more dangerous weapon. Who were to have prevented a tragedy from occurring?"
Sisodia told reporters that the "attack" surprisingly took place at a high-security area.
"Recently BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari reached near stage during the inauguration of signature bridge. BJP in collusion with Delhi Police is hatching a conspiracy to attack the Chief Minister," he told reporters.
"We are not going to be cowed by BJP'S petty tactics," he added.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj accused the BJP for the alleged attack.
According to Bhardwaj, the attack happened at the chief minister's office, which is a "high-security" zone. He said it was a serious matter and termed the attack "politically motivated".
"The BJP is behind the attack and the accused are being aided by the Modi government," he alleged.
The Delhi BJP chief said such incidents "cannot be tolerated or justified by anybody".
"This calls for a high-level probe," Tiwari said.
Officials close to Kejriwal accused the Delhi Police of being lax in providing him security and alleged that this was the third attempt to harm him in less than a month.
The AAP alleged that water bottles were thrown at Kejriwal by Tiwari at the inauguration ceremony of Signature Bridge earlier this month.
"Around the time of Dussehra, an unidentified man had barged inside Kejriwal's residence and had tried to attack the CM," Bhardwaj added.
In a statement issued later, Delhi Police said the incident took place around 2:25 pm on the third floor of Delhi Secretariat.
"When the CM was coming out of his chamber, one person later identified as Anil tried to hand over his complaint to the chief minister who in turn passed it on to a staff member," said the statement.
Meanwhile, Anil bowed down to touch the feet of Kejriwal. The Chief Minister's security tried to take him away but in the process Kejriwal's spectacles fell, it said.
Subsequently the security personnel took him aside and found him carrying a pouch in his hand, which apparently contained chilli powder, it said.
"Sharma was visiting the Secretariat with reference of some staff. He has been detained for further questioning," the statement added.