New Delhi: BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga’s arrest this morning from his home in Delhi by cops from neighbouring Punjab set off a dramatic showdown involving two parties and police forces across three states.
In a cat-and-mouse game that lasted hours, Mr Bagga was first taken away by the Punjab police at 5 am. He was arrested for “provocative statements, promoting religious enmity and criminal intimidation” over his tweets against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
On their way to Mohali, the team was stopped by Haryana cops after the Delhi police registered a kidnapping case based on a complaint by Mr Bagga’s father.
The Haryana police surrounded the Punjab police car carrying Mr Bagga and escorted them off the highway to a police station in Kurukshetra. The Punjab cops were detained. At the same time, the Punjab and Haryana High Court turned down AAP-ruled Punjab’s demand that Mr Bagga remain in Haryana instead of being handed over to Delhi cops.
The Haryana police acted apparently on a request from the Delhi Police, which rushed to a court for a search warrant based on the kidnapping complaint.
Search warrant in hand, a team of Delhi police reached Kurukshetra and “rescued” Mr Bagga, who flashed a victory sign as he changed cars. The Delhi police brought Mr Bagga back to the national capital.
AAP leaders defended Mr Bagga’s arrest saying the Punjab police acted in an unbiased way and the action was taken after Mr Bagga refused to cooperate with the investigation even after five notices.
The BJP leader was described as a “goonda, lafanga, dangai (criminal, loafer and rioter) by AAP’s Atishi.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said they had collected information about Mr Bagga and that he used “obscene, toxic and hateful language” on social media.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar Jindal claimed around 50 cops barged into Mr Bagga’s Delhi home and arrested him. “He couldn’t even wear his turban,” he said. Mr Bagga’s father alleged that cops punched him and dragged his son out to take him to Punjab. He said the police snatched his phone when he tried to record a video and seized both his and Mr Bagga’s phones.
Delhi police, which reports to the Centre, claimed they were not informed in advance about the arrest. Punjab police have refuted the charge, saying one of their teams has been at a police station in Delhi since last evening.
Mr Bagga has been very vocal against Arvind Kejriwal on social media. He came under fire from the AAP, which rules both Delhi and Punjab, for his tweet against Mr Kejriwal over ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie.