Swati Maliwal case: Bibhav Kumar formatted iPhone, CCTV footage of ‘assault’ incident blank, Delhi Police tell court : The Tribune India

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Swati Maliwal case: Bibhav Kumar formatted iPhone, CCTV footage of ‘assault’ incident blank, Delhi Police tell court

'Assault could have been fatal’, say police in its remand application

Swati Maliwal case: Bibhav Kumar formatted iPhone, CCTV footage of ‘assault’ incident blank, Delhi Police tell court

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar being taken to custody by Delhi Police in the case of alleged assault on AAP MP Swati Maliwal, in New Delhi, on May 18, 2024. PTI



Tribune News Service

Samad Hoque

New Delhi, May 19

The Delhi Police in its application submitted to the court seeking a seven-day police remand of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar, the accused in the Swati Maliwal ‘assault’ case, has said the “brutal assault on Rajya Sabha MP and Aam Aadmi Party leader Swati Maliwal could have been fatal and CCTV footage at Delhi Chief Minister’s official residence during the period of assault on May 13 has turned out to be blank.”

The police got five-day remand of Kumar after a late-night order by a local court here.

The police in their remand request said Kumar admitted to formatting his Apple iPhone 15 in Mumbai and needed to be taken there to recover the data, for which his police remand was needed.

“Kumar has admitted to formatting his iPhone in Mumbai, and will need to be taken there to procure vital evidence related to the case,” his remand application said.

The police said digital video recording of the drawing room of the Delhi CM’s Civil Lines residence where the alleged assault took place was not provided officially and a portion of it procured unofficially has turned out to be blank.

In their submission to court, cops also said Kumar could not explain why despite termination of his appointment as personal secretary to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on April 19, he continued to work in the CM’s residence whereby he had “potential to tamper with crucial evidence in the case.”

“Bibhav Kumar was appointed private secretary to the Delhi CM on co terminus basis on February 27, 2015, which has been terminated by the competent authority on April 19, 2024, but continues to work at CM residence,” the three-page remand application procured by The Tribune says.

Cops, while seeking a seven-day remand, added that Kumar was evasive and non-cooperative during investigation.

Citing the reasons for Kumar’s arrest, Delhi police additional DCP North Anjitha Chepyala said, “This is a very serious case where a Member of Parliament has been brutally assaulted which could have been fatal. Despite specific questions, the accused has not cooperated in the investigation and has been evasive in his replies.”

The remand application adds that since “the brutal attack has been made on a public figure, who is a sitting Member of Parliament, a sustained interrogation is very much required to find the motive and ascertain the conspiracy angles and involvement of persons, organizations inimical to the country.”

Regarding the missing video footage of the alleged assault, cops said, “The investigation officer gave notice to provide one of the most vital pieces of evidence—the digital video recording of the place of occurrence, but the same has not been provided. However, on the efforts of IO one officer of junior rank, JE, who himself has admitted that he has no access inside the residence where DVR and cameras are installed, had provided one video footage in a pen drive of only the dining room...but when it was checked the video footage was blank of the relevant period.”

Cops said as per CCTV footage provided by JE, the footage of the relevant time and period of assault was found blank and tampering of crucial evidence cannot be ruled out.

“The accused has to be interrogated in detail as he has admitted to having access inside the CM’s residence and office,” said the cops.

They said Kumar had disclosed that he was using Apple iPhone 15 which is password protected and which he had formatted in Mumbai on Friday itself.

”Without the personal presence and assistance of the accused, as this instrument is password protected, the phone cannot be accessed. Also, he has to be taken to experts in order to retrieve the mobile data and ascertain the factum of formatting of mobile phone, which is an important piece of evidence,” the application said.

Police said the possibility of keeping any clone copy/phone data in any system cannot be ruled out.

“Hence to recover data and examine the person who has formatted the data, he has to be taken to Mumbai. To rule out his association with any anti-social persons, elements, organisations, a sustained interrogation is required of the accused,” said the application.

The remand note also said the alleged accused was an influential person and could pressurise and threaten witnesses and may tamper with material evidence being in a position of authority.

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