New Delhi: The man who opened fire at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area last week joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a year ago, the Delhi Police said on Tuesday.
Kapil Baisala, 25, was arrested on February 1 for firing in the air at Shaheen Bagh, which has been at the centre of protests in the national capital against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The Crime Branch, which is investigating the case, found images on Baisala's phone showing him with AAP leaders Atishi and Sanjay Singh.
Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh Deo said, "In our initial investigation, we found some photos from Kapil's phone that establish that he and his father joined AAP a year ago and he has already disclosed it. We have taken his remand for two days."
Baisala's father reportedly contested elections twice on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket — from Jangpura in 2008 and then Patparganj four years later.
Deo said the photographs, which were deleted, were recovered with the help of a technical team. "The Crime Branch raided Kapil's place and recovered his phone," said the official.
Baisala's family, however, refuted the police's claim. His uncle, Fatesh Singh, said he has no idea where the photographs are circulating from.
"My nephew Kapil had no association with any political party nor does any other member from the family is. My brother Gaje Singh (Kapil's father) fought the assembly elections in 2008 for the BSP and lost. After that no one from our family had any links with any political party," he said.
Singh said Baisala also does not have any friends associated with the AAP or any other political party.
Sachin Gujjar, Kapil's brother also gave a similar statement. "My father and Kapil are not members of AAP. During their campaign in our village, last year AAP workers made my father wear a cap and that is the picture that you are seeing on news channels," he said.
Blame game between BJP and AAP
Responding to the allegations, Sanjay Singh accused the BJP and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of a "conspiracy" and of "indulging in dirty politics".
"Amit Shah is the home minister of the country at this time. Now just before elections, photos and conspiracies will be found," he said. "With three to four days left for the elections, the BJP will do as much dirty politics as they can. What does having a picture with someone mean?"
In their statement, the Delhi Police said Baisala and his father joined AAP early last year.
Atishi, who was also seen in the photographs with Baisala, said the BJP's "dirty tricks department" has started working 48 hours before the elections, scheduled for February 8.
48 hours left before elections and the BJP dirty tricks department is at play, since their own surveys are showing them being defeated badly. Lets see what more lies and dirt they try in the next 2 days!— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) February 4, 2020
Speaking at a press conference later, Sanjay Singh said his party will file a complaint with the Election Commission and send a legal notice to the Crime Branch DCP.
Singh said Deo cannot name a political party when the model code of conduct (MCC) is in place.
"I am shocked. The MCC is in place and the EC is the supreme authority. The DCP heading the investigation is saying that the photo of AAP leaders were found in the phone of the accused and they are probing the case," he said. "Is Amit Shah asking the DCP to make the statement or is someone else pushing him?"
The AAP leader said it was wrong for a police officer to name a political party when the investigation is not even completed.
"The law says no official can name a (political) party until it has permission from the EC (when the MCC is imposed). Did the DCP take permission from the EC? No, he has the permission of (Home Minister Amit) Shah and the BJP," he said.
The Rajya Sabha MP also questioned as to how the photo was leaked to the media and the BJP while the probe was still going on.
Meanwhile, BJP President JP Nadda said this exposed the dirty face of the party and Kejriwal who were playing with the country's security. In a series of tweets, he said people of the country and Delhi today have seen the AAP’s dirty face.
"For political longing, Kejriwal and his people even sold the security of the country. Earlier, Kejriwal used to insult the Army and advocate terrorists, but today, relations with those who carry out their terrorist activities came to light," he said.
Nadda said he wanted to make it clear to Kejriwal that this country is bigger than any election, any government, and "this nation will not forgive those who play with its security. Kejriwal and his entire team have been exposed. The people of Delhi will give a befitting reply".
Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged that "their (AAP's) designs are very clear from the beginning and they are trying every trick".
Their entire conspiracy is to "divide society, cause fear in a community and create a vote bank", he claimed.
What police probe shows so far
The investigation has revealed that Baisala came to Shaheen Bagh on a motorbike and another person identified as Sarthak, who has also joined the probe. Through technical surveillance and other evidence including footage from CCTV, it was found they took the road via the Delhi-Noida-Delhi Expressway (DND) and on to Maharani Bagh and Holy Family. There, at the parking, Baisala adjusted his pistol and went to Shaheen Bagh.
The sources added that Sarthak was sent back with Baisala's mobile phone and CCTV footage from the location has confirmed the former's statement.
After being overpowered by police at Shaheen Bagh, Baisala had chanted 'Jai Shree Ram' and said, "Humare desh mein aur kisi ki nahi chalegi, sirf Hindu ki chalegi (only Hindus shall have a say in our country, no one else)," as he was taken into custody by the Delhi Police.
This episode of firing was the second such incident at Shaheen Bagh. Last Thursday, a man fired his pistol at a group of anti-CAA protesters outside Jamia Millia Islamia University, injuring a student.
The women of Delhi's little-known locality have been staging a peaceful sit-in protest against the CAA, which started a few days after an attack on students of Jamia Millia Islamia in December. The area, which lies just ahead of the university, has since then been blocked, choking the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch.
The protests have been at the centre of a heated debate between the BJP and the AAP. While several BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, have accused the Congress and Delhi's ruling party of fomenting trouble at the site, Arvind Kejriwal's party has blamed the saffron party for not fighting the upcoming Assembly polls on the development plank.
(With inputs from agencies)