DCW Chief Swati Maliwal Says Driver Who Dragger Her Harassed Another Woman, BJP Mounts Attacks On Maliwal

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said Delhi Commission for Women's (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal allegations are a conspiracy to defame Delhi.

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal

After she was allegedly dragged by a car driver, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal has alleged that the accused had abused another woman recently.

As Maliwal levelled the allegation and pursues her own case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has mounted an attack on her and has sought her removal. 

BJP leader and Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi said Maliwal's allegations are a conspiracy to defame Delhi. Separately, BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar sought the removal of Maliwal as DCW chief so that an impartial investigation can be conducted in the case. 

What we know of Swati Maliwal's case?

DCW chief Swati Maliwal alleged that she was harassed and dragged by a car for 10-15 metres outside AIIMS Delhi in the early hours of Thursday. 

Maliwal alleged that she was molested by a drunk man while on an inspection at night and dragged for 10-15 metres by his car outside AIIMS with her hand stuck in the vehicle's window. The accused, a 47-year-old man, has been arrested.

A video of the incident surfaced in which the car is seen Maliwal near the car and she appears to be talking to its occupant. When she goes to the driver's side, the car is seen driving away speedily suddenly. 

Maliwal on Friday alleged that the man accused of harassing her outside AIIMS had also "preyed on another woman" in a similar fashion earlier this month.

She tweeted in Hindi, "The person who harassed me has also preyed on other women. One woman reported on the 181 helpline that on January 17 this man had repeatedly circled around her with his car on Lodhi Road, asking her to get in. I am thankful that I got him caught. I appeal to everyone to not be afraid but raise your voice." 

Maliwal also shared a video of the woman narrating her ordeal of being harassed by the man.

The woman is heard saying in Hindi, "In today's newspaper I saw that the chairperson of Delhi Commission (for Women) had been harassed and there was a picture of the perpetrator. I would like to tell you that this same person did the same thing to me on Tuesday at Lodhi Colony around 7 to 7.30 pm. He said the same thing to me - 'Do you want a lift?' and kept taking a U-turn to come back. 

"I ignored him the first time he asked... But after that, when he kept on returning, I looked at him properly and kept thinking of getting out of the place as soon as possible but since there were no buses around, I had to face some problems."

Footage showing Maliwal being allegedly harassed by the accused inebriated man and dragged by his car for 10-15 metres with her hand stuck in the vehicle window has been recovered, police said.

The BJP's attacks on Swati Maliwal

The BJP has accused DCW chief Swati Maliwal of defaming Delhi and doing "drama". BJP leader and Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi also alleged that the accused is a member of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Hitting out at Kejriwal, Lekhi asked how far he would go defame and destroy Delhi. She said the man Maliwal has accused of molesting her is an AAP member and that that the allegations were part of a plan to defame Delhi.

BJP leaders are of the view that Maliwal, appointed by the AAP government, staged the incident to target Delhi Police, which comes under the Centre.

BJP leaders Manoj Tiwari, Shazia Ilmi, and its Delhi unit Working President Virendra Sachdeva had earlier attacked the AAP over the accused's alleged association with the party.

BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said, "But social media reports on this, as well as media reports, indicate that the eve teaser involved Harish Chandra Suryavanshi is an active worker of Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party from Sangam Vihar...This development revealing eve teaser's connection with Aam Aadmi Party has exposed Swati Maliwal and she will try her best to influence the police inquiry in the matter by using her constitutional office.

Kapoor urged Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena to suspend Maliwal from the post of DCW chairperson till the inquiry of the alleged molestation incident is completed so that she cannot "misuse her position" to "influence" it.

In a tweet, another BJP spokesperson, Nighat Abbas, called the episode "dramebaazi".

She tweeted in Hindi, "I am also a woman. If someone puts a hand in my car on the road (even if it's a woman), I will without doubt speed away my car. This person also did the same thing. Dramebaazi."

(With PTI inputs)