AAP’s MLA from Shahdara and candidate for Speaker’s post in the new Delhi Assembly, Ram Niwas Goel, has been named in an FIR on charges of rioting and trespass on polling day in his East Delhi constituency.
Goel, to be sworn in when the Assembly meets on Monday, claimed that he had not been informed by police about the FIR. He said he learnt of the matter only on Sunday when the media reported it.
The then AAP candidate, along with his supporters, had gheraoed the house of one Manish Ghai in Shahdara on the night of February 6, the night before the polling day. AAP supporters are alleged to have not only forcibly entered Ghai’s house but also broken the window panes and flower pots. Goel suspected liquor was stocked in the house for distribution to locals a day before polling, the FIR says.
Goel denied the charges. “I did not trespass. I have a video recording which clearly shows men carrying bottles of liquor out of the house. Police had reached the spot and detained two of these persons, who they caught red-handed. I rushed to the house with my supporters and AAP candidate from Vishwas Nagar, Atul Gupta,” Goel told Newsline. He claimed he entered the police with permission and “found 14 empty cartons of liquor, 5000 photo copies of voter identity cards, 250 blankets and pamphlets on BJP candidate Om Prakash”.
“Police took away all the material and we left the area. However, I had no idea the police had quietly registered a case against me on the complaint of the owner,” Goel said.
A senior police officer said, “A case under sections of rioting and trespass was registered against Goel, his son Sumit and four other persons on February 7. He had got into somebody’s house and his supporters ransacked the house. No one has been arrested, however.”
Goel told Newsline, “The police are playing political games. They registered the case and arrested an AAP supporter who had videographed liquor bottles being transported out of the house after which we reached the spot. He was produced in court and was out on bail around 10 days ago. However, I had no inkling that mine and AAP MLA Atul Gupta’s name is mentioned in the FIR. I was never intimated nor was I produced in court.”
The incident comes a day after AAP MLA from Burari Sanjeev Jha and Akhilesh Tipathi from Model Town were booked for rioting and preventing public servant from duty. Jha, AAP supporters accompanying him and locals clashed with police when police refused to hand over two persons who had allegedly kidnapped two boys from the area.