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Atishi claims ED will arrest her, 3 other AAP leaders unless they join BJP


Delhi Minister Atishi on Tuesday made a sensational claim that she, along with Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak, and Raghav Chadha, might face arrest by the Enforcement Directorate. At a press conference She expressed concern that the BJP is targeting the next tier of leaders within the Aam Aadmi Party.

Atishi revealed that she had been approached to join the BJP through a personal contact. She was informed that she could either join the BJP to safeguard her political career or face arrest within the next month. It was conveyed to her by someone close that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to imprison every AAP leader. Starting with Satyendar Jain, Manish Sisodia, and Sanjay Singh, and now Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, they intended to arrest another four top leaders -- herself, Raghav Chadha, Durgesh Pathak, and Saurabh Bharadwaj.

"I want to tell the BJP that we will not be scared of you. We are the soldiers of Arvind Kejriwal. We are aides of Bhagat Singh. We will continue to save the Constitution and will work to give the people a better life under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal," she said.

The Delhi minister claimed that she was told that in the coming days, the ED would conduct raids at her residence and that of her relatives.

The BJP has been rattled by the success of the INDIA bloc's Ramlila Maidan rally on Sunday and has realised that sending Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to jail would not lead to the disintegration of the AAP, she asserted.

Bharadwaj termed the "offer" to Atishi to join the BJP or get arrested an "open threat. "Despite the arrest of four leaders, including Kejriwal, the AAP is surviving. So now they want to send the next line of leaders (to jail). The first would be me, next Atishi and then Raghav Chadha and Durgesh Pathak." He asserted that the AAP has had organic growth and the BJP should not be under the illusion that the party will fall to pieces with the arrest of its top leader.

"The BJP wants to win over 400 Lok Sabha seats in the coming polls by sending people to jail," he charged.

Reacting to the AAP leaders' remarks, the Delhi BJP chief said, "Since Kejriwal has stated that excise policy case accused and AAP leader Vijay Nair, who is in jail, used to report to Atishi and Bharadwaj, the AAP leaders are fighting among them. Atishi by saving her skin has led Chadha and Pathak in trouble." Bharadwaj said Nair had given his statement one and half years ago and the BJP leaders were "using" it now which showed the party's "absurd political strategy".

The Enforcement Directorate apprised the court on Monday that during the recording of a statement in custody, Arvind Kejriwal stated that his interaction with former communication-in-charge of the AAP, Vijay Nair, was limited as he only reported to party leaders Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj.

When asked about the ED's statement mentioning her and Saurabh Bharadwaj's names in court, Atishi said, "The ED took Saurabh Bharadwaj and my name in court, on the basis of a statement that is available with the ED and CBI for one and a half years; this statement is in the charge sheet of the ED. This statement is also in the charge sheets of CBI, so what was the reason for raising this statement?

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrested on March 21 by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped excise policy of his government, was on Monday sent to judicial custody till April 15 by a city court.

The AAP has accused the BJP of wanting to impose President's rule in Delhi by poaching its legislators and breaking the party.

The AAP's Kirari MLA Rituraj Jha claimed he was offered Rs 25 crore to join the saffron party.

(With input from agencies)