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September 25, 2020
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Police says Shaheen Bagh shooter is AAP member; family rejects claim

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Kapil Baisala who opened fired at Shaheen Bagh protest site last week is a member of the Aam Aadmi Party, police said on Tuesday, sparking a war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the AAP.

IMAGE: Kapil Baisala, who fired bullets in Shaheen Bagh area, being detained by police in New Delhi. Photograph: ANI Photo

While the BJP accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of ‘playing’ with the security of the country, the AAP hit back, stating the saffron party was indulging ‘dirty politics’.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo said that Baisala and his father joined the AAP in early 2019.

Baisala’s family, however, refuted the police’s claim.

 

Kapil Baisala’s uncle Fatesh Singh told PTI, “I have no idea where these photographs are circulating from. My nephew Kapil had no association with any political party nor does any other member from the family.

“My brother, Gaje Singh, (Baisala’s father) fought assembly elections in 2008 on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket and lost. After that no one from our family had any links with any political party.”

His uncle Fatesh Singh told PTI, “I have no idea where these 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 assembly elections in 2008 for Bahujan Samaj Party and lost. After that no one from our family had any links with any political party”.

Singh added that Baisala also doesn’t have friends associated with the AAP or any other political party.

He had also contested the 2012 civic body polls from the BSP, the police said.

The police officer said they seized Baisala’s mobile phone and retrieved WhatsApp data.

On Saturday, Baisala fired two rounds in air at Shaheen Bagh. According to eyewitnesses, the man shouted “Hindu Rashtra Zindabad” and fired two rounds.

He was overpowered by the police and later arrested.

In the pictures, it was seen that he and his father joined the party in the presence of Atishi Marlena, Sanjay Singh and other leaders, sources said.

The police said on Thursday, Baisala, along with his friend Sarthak Larolla, went to Shaheen Bagh from his village on a bike.

Through CCTV footage, it was found they took the DND flyover, Maharani Bagh, Sarai Jullena and reached Holy Family hospital, a senior police officer said.

“Baisala was not comfortable on the bike as he had hidden the pistol near his waist. They entered the hospital’s parking where he adjusted the pistol, used the washroom and headed towards Shaheen Bagh,” the senior official added.

When they reached the protest site, Larolla left the spot with the motorcycle and Baisala’s mobile phone. Later, Baisala fired two rounds in the air and was apprehended. The weapon was recovered from near the spot, the police said.

Larolla joined the investigation and the mobile phone was seized from his residence.

Baisala has been remanded to police remand for two days.

He had bought the pistol around seven years ago for his brother’s marriage. The source of the weapon from where he procured it is yet to identified, police said.

The sources said Baisala was previously also involved in firing incident but was never caught nor was a case registered against him.

Hitting out at the AAP, BJP president J P Nadda accused Kejriwal of playing with the security of the country and said that the people will give the party a befitting reply.

“I want to make clear to Kejriwal that this country is bigger than any election, any government, and the country will not forgive those who play with its security. The people of Delhi will give a befitting reply,” Nadda tweeted.

Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh asked on whose directions was the Delhi Police accusing his party.

“Before the police revealed it (Baisala being an AAP member), how did BJP’s Delhi president Manoj Tiwari come to know about it,” Singh asked and accused the police of maligning the party.

Earlier in the day, a court extended Baisala’s police custody by two days after the Delhi Police told it that there was a possibility of a larger conspiracy behind the incident.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur extended by two days the police custody of Baisala.

The police had sought four-day remand of Baisala, saying the agency only had one day to investigate the matter.

“Time and place of the incident clearly indicate that the incident of using firearms is a part of a larger conspiracy which is to be unearthed.

“He (Baisala) is associated with different groups on WhatsApp. He is to be interrogated regarding the other members of these groups keeping in view the possibility of larger conspiracy,” the investigating officer said.

He further said investigation has revealed that his WhatsApp account was purposely deleted.

“The account has been retrieved and most of the data has been recovered. Due to shortage of time it could not be analysed.

“The data is bulky in nature and he needs to be confronted with it,” the police said.

It added that Baisala also needs to be confronted with his friend who had accompanied him to the site of the incident.

“His friend is being interrogated at length in order to ascertain his involvement. Data in his friend’s phone is also being scrutinised. The investigation is at an initial stage.

“The case is very serious and sensitive in nature which requires in-depth interrogation of the accused.

“Also, Baisala needs to be confronted with his friend. The motive of firing needs to be ascertained. He is changing his version and not cooperating with the investigating agency.

“Identity of the supplier of the recovered firearm is yet to be ascertained. He is misguiding the agency by changing his versions regarding supplier again and again,” the probe agency said.

Advocates M S Sisodia and Akhil Rexwal, appearing for Baisala, opposed the remand plea saying the probe agency has seized his mobile and all other relevant materials required for the investigation.

“The offences are bailable in nature. What will they do with my WhatsApp chats? What links do they want to establish? Where else do they need to take me,” Sisodia asked.

On February 1, Baisala had fired two rounds in the air at Shaheen Bagh, where anti-CAA protests are being held for over a month now.

After being overpowered by police personnel, he had chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and said, ‘hamare desh me aur kisi ki nahi chalegi, sirf Hinduon 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 was the second such incident reported from Shaheen Bagh in a span of three days. A man had fired from a pistol on a group of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters in the area on Thursday, injuring a student of the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Meanwhile, the court also sent a wrestler arrested for supplying a weapon to the juvenile who had opened fire on anti-CAA protesters outside Jamia Millia Islamia last week, to fourteen days’ judicial custody.

The police told the court that they have recovered a country-made pistol and two live cartridges from Ajeet Singh and case has been registered under relevant provisions of the Arms Act.

On January 30, the juvenile had fired at a group of anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters outside the Jamia Millia Islamia injuring a student.

The Juvenile Justice Board had earlier sent the juvenile to 14 days’ protective custody.

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