Kejriwal lashes out at Modi, after raid

Delhi chief minister Arvind KejriwalHours after the Central Bureau of Investigation raided Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's office, Kejriwal intensified his attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying he was not scared of the BJP leader. He had earlier branded Modi a ''psychopath''.

''Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I am not scared of you. You don't know what I'm made of,'' Kejriwal said. ''Tomorrow, if my son is found guilty of corruption, I will send him to jail,'' the Delhi CM added in his challenge to Modi.

The CBI earlier confirmed that its officers had raided the Delhi government headquarters and 13 other locations in connection with a corruption case involving Kejriwal's principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.

Indian Administrative Services officer Kumar, in a previous posting, ''abused his official position'' by awarding government contracts to a favoured private firm over seven years, along with six others, CBI bureau spokeswoman Devpreet Singh told reporters.

Speaking to reporters this evening, Kejriwal said, ''The CBI's clarification is a lie. They should have raided the education department and other places where documents related to charges against Kumar are, not the CM's office. The CM's office only has files from the past 15 days.''

Kejriwal said the CBI had looked at files related to corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association under BJP leader and current finance minister Arun Jaitley. ''Rajender Kumar is just an excuse, I am the real target,'' he said.

Kejriwal earlier called Modi a psychopath and coward after the CBI raided his office on Tuesday, triggering a torrent of criticism from BJP leaders in what may be the next flashpoint between the centre and the government of the city-state.

Kejriwal's tirade against the central government on Twitter was backed by several opposition parties, even as an angry BJP demanded an unconditional apology from the chief minister for his language and accused him of protecting corrupt officials.

''CBI raids my office. When Modi couldn't handle me politically, he resorted to this cowardice. Modi is a coward and a psycopath,'' the CM tweeted as several party leaders called the incident shameful.

Hours later, agency officials refuted Kejriwal's charges, saying investigators raided the office of Rajender Kumar for favouring private firms in state tenders. Raids were also conducted at other places in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the official added.

''Reports of raids at Delhi CM office are completely baseless. Do not spread baseless rumours to impede the investigation,'' said a CBI spokesperson.

Alienating the opposition
The dramatic raids came days after the Congress paralysed Parliament over the government's alleged vendetta in the National Herald funds misuse case, where Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are accused of illegally acquired property worth crores of rupees.

The BJP backed the CBI, saying the agency didn't function under the union government.

''Kejriwal's language was unwarranted, shameful and condemnable. We demand an unqualified apology for the baseless allegations,'' said Telecommunications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said it had become the fashion for Kejriwal to quarrel with the central government and take the PM's name for everything.

''Kejriwal is protecting a corrupt person. A party born out of the anti-corruption movement has been caught supporting corruption. If the CBI acts on complaints, why attack the PM? Should there be no action against corruption?'' Environment minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament the raid had nothing to do with Kejriwal and was related to a matter ''prior to his becoming chief minister'' but Kejriwal called this a lie.

''FM lied in Parliament. My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajender is an excuse,'' the AAP chief tweeted minutes after Jaitley spoke.

''I am the only CM who dismissed, on my own, a minister and a senior officer on charges of corruption and handed their cases to CBI,'' the CM wrote on the microblogging site, a reference to the dramatic dismissal of state environment and food and supplies minister Asim Ahmed Khan in September for allegedly demanding Rs6 lakh from a builder to allow illegal construction.

Senior AAP leaders attacked the government over the raids, calling the incident shameful and a new low in politics.

''Modi is trying to stop honest politics by using CBI raids as a scare. But he won't succeed as the public is with the truth,'' deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.

The party also received support from opposition parties, most noticeably the Trinamool Congress which accused the BJP of trying to demolish the country's federal structure. ''Sealing of a chief minister's office is unprecedented. I am shocked,'' West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Sources in the CBI said that investigators found foreign currency worth over Rs3 lakh, cash worth Rs2.4 lakh and documents pertaining to three immovable assets at Kumar's south Delhi residence. The move came on a complaint by former Delhi Dialogue Commission secretary Ashish Joshi.

Exactly a week ago, the CBI had detained Sanjay Pratap Singh – the principal secretary in the Delhi department for welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities – for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs2.2 lakh from a manpower supplier.

The AAP rode to power last February on an anti-corruption wave but has since been embroiled in a series of spats and corruption scandals.

Khan was the second AAP minister to be sacked after Jitender Tomar (law minister), who resigned under party pressure in June after he was arrested for allegedly faking his educational qualifications.

In September, party MLA Somnath Bharti was arrested in a domestic violence case. Bharti faces police action in another case too, that involving the midnight raid on African women in south Delhi.

Twenty legislators of AAP have cases registered against them. Of these, four have been arrested.

The AAP administration has also repeatedly accused the Centre of trying to run the city by proxy using lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. The two sides have clashed on the appointment and transfer of senior bureaucrats and the Delhi Police, which reports to the Union home ministry and not the city government.