Congress leader Srinivas BV, who was questioned by the Delhi police over COVID-related material, including medicines and oxygen cylinders, being provided by him to people, and the other leaders who were also questioned, have been given a clean chit by the police. In its status report to the Delhi High Court, which was accessed by Indian Express, the Delhi police said that the inquiry found that Srinivas and the others were actually helping people in getting medical aid without charging anyone, and have not defrauded anyone. Other than Srinivas, the Delhi police had also questioned similar charges against AAP MLA Dilip Pandey and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir.
The Crime Branch said in its status report that the “distribution/help has been voluntary and without discrimination,” the Indian Express reported. The status report was filed by the police after the order from the Delhi High Court, which had directed the police to examine instances of politicians allegedly procuring and distributing Remdesivir in the national capital and take steps for lodging of FIR in case of offence.
In his response to the police, Srinivas had said he was undaunted by the police questioning and was only helping those who had no support from any quarters in this hour of crisis. "The policemen wanted to know how did I get the relief material to distribute among the people. I said I was helping people to save their lives and we have an entire team of hundreds of volunteers at IYC (Indian Youth Congress) that was working round the clock to arrange material and provide it to people," Srinivas said.
"We are continuing our work and are not scared of police or any PIL. There is nothing wrong in helping people who have no one to fall back upon and who are desperately trying to save themselves and their families from the fatal virus," the IYC president said. Srinivas said he answered questions of the police team and also submitted a detailed written response to its queries.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that at a time when people need help all over the country, the government is wasting its time by indulging in "raid raaj" instead of helping the people.
"By raiding the IYC chief, PM (Narendra) Modi and (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah have done a shameful act," he said.
BJP leaders, including East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and Delhi unit spokesperson Harish Khurana who had also been questioned by police in connection with distribution of relief material, said that the issue should not be politicised.
BJP MP Gambhir, who has been helping people with oxygen concentrators and medicines, said opposition parties should refrain from politicising the due process of the law.
"Opposition should not indulge in needless politicisation of the due process. Delhi Police has asked for a reply from us & we've provided all details. I will keep serving Delhi & its people to the best of my abilities always!" he tweeted.
A senior police officer had earlier said, "The high court has directed us to conduct an inquiry into the politicians involved in distribution of COVID-19 medicines and other items which we are doing before submitting our report to it."
After the questioning of the politicians was questioned by many, Delhi police had tweeted, "#DelhiPolice conducted enquiry for 4th day on direction of Hon'ble High Court regarding allegations against politicians across political parties on alleged illegal distribution of medicines for #COVID. Sensationalism be avoided. It considers complying court orders its duty."
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Dilip Pandey and Delhi Congress vice president Ali Mehdi were also approached by police in following the high court directive. Mehdi had said he has submitted his response to a Crime Branch officer. "I will continue to work along with my team to provide relief to people," he said. Delhi BJP spokesperson Khurana said he was questioned by the crime branch last week and added that Congress leaders should stop politicising the issue and linking names of the prime minister and home minister with it.
“Certain politicians are misguiding people and spreading lies about the court directed probe which is very unfortunate, he had added.
With PTI inputs