AAP vs Chief Secretary: How Delhi Police planned CM residence search

Delhi Police search Arvind Kejriwal’s home: To avoid chaos, police waited for the protest being held by DTC workers outside the Chief Minister’s residence to wrap up. Then, a message flashed and within minutes, 90 officers reached the destination.

Around 10 pm on Thursday, Additional DCP (north district) Harendra Singh drafted a strategy one last time with his team, about the search operation to be conducted at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence the next morning. They decided to reach the Chief Minister’s home at 10.30 am. But that changed on Friday morning, when the SHO of Civil Lines police station came to know that a protest was being held by DTC workers outside the Chief Minister’s residence, where a Janta Darbar was going on.

To avoid chaos, the search had to be postponed. Sources said the decision to conduct a search had been taken after several rounds of meetings between Additional DCP Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on Thursday evening.Sitting at the Delhi Police headquarters, Singh had told Patnaik about the importance of the CCTV footage in their investigation. “Singh briefed Patnaik about the investigation status of the case. He emphasised that apart from Kejriwal’s advisor V K Jain’s statement, they should also recover CCTV footage, which is technical evidence, and that there is a possibility that it could be tampered,” police sources said.On Friday morning, a message was flashed and SHOs were asked not to move from their police stations, so they could be on standby. “Singh then informed the Delhi Police chief about the sudden change in plan. Police then came to know that the protest by DTC workers was going to wrap up at 11 am. Another message was flashed and, in the meantime, Singh reached his office around 11 am. Within 10 minutes, he headed to the Civil Lines police station, where two buses were stationed outside to ferry police personnel,” a senior police officer said, adding that at 11.38 am, the teams headed towards the CM’s residence under Singh’s supervision.Within five minutes, about 90 officers had reached their destination. As they headed inside, security personnel at the CM’s residence appeared flummoxed. Passersby, too, stopped for a quick glance at what was going on. Singh said that after reaching Kejriwal’s home, he gave intimation notice to the caretaker and informed him that police were there to conduct a search operation. “Initially, the staffers tried to intervene, asking about the legal notice. We showed them all documents and informed them that we will check CCTV cameras. We first searched the waiting room and then the meeting room, where the complainant has said that there was movement. We also checked the adjoining washroom which was mentioned by Kejriwal’s advisor,” Singh said.

“We did not visit any other room and limited our searches to premises connected to the February 19 incident.” Sources said that Kejriwal was sitting in another room with his family, but did not come out to meet police. “At 12.19 pm, Kejriwal left his home in his car, but police were still conducting the searches. Officers, meanwhile, made a list of all CCTV cameras,” police said. After Kejriwal left, his lawyer reached and met police.

Asked why police enquired about a new paint job inside the house, Singh said, “When entering the crime scene, every aspect is taken into consideration. We have to see whether a new creation has been made, whether a new item has been introduced… a new paint (job) will also be involved in such considerations. We have to see if there was a place where cameras were earlier installed and taken out.” Meanwhile, Singh said they will question all MLAs who were present at the meeting.

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