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After Kejriwal, Delhi Police serves notice to Atishi over AAP's MLA 'poaching' claims

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      New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) The Delhi Police's Crime Branch on Sunday served a notice to Atishi in connection with a probe into the Delhi minister's allegations that the BJP was attempting to "poach" AAP MLAs, asking her to reply within a day.

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The development comes a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was served a notice in the same matter.

Sources said that Atishi's staff have received the notice, after the Crime Branch team visited the AAP leader's residence for a second time at 12.55 pm on Sunday.

According to the notice, the Crime Branch has asked Kejriwal and Atishi to give information on the allegations of poaching bid levelled against the BJP, given statements by them suggest they were privy to certain information regarding commission of a cognisable offence.

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The two AAP leaders have been asked to respond to the notice by Monday.

Responding to the notice, Atishi said that it is just a letter with no mention of any penal provisions, while the BJP said they should not create any hurdles in the probe.  Atishi was not present at her residence when the notice was served, the sources said. Earlier in the day too, police officials had arrived at the minister's residence but she was not present.

 "The team visited again to serve notice to Atishi. The team first visited her house in the morning when she was not present at her residence," a senior police officer of the Crime Branch said.  According to AAP sources, Atishi had given directions to her office staff to receive the notice.

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Responding to the development, AAP leader Jasmine Shah stressed that the notice does not include anything about a summon or an FIR or any section of the IPC or CrPC.  "This is just a letter on a white paper,"  he said.

 "Crime Branch officials also reached the residence of Delhi minister Atishi today to serve her a notice. They wanted to give it only to her personally and not to her officials. Should the Delhi ministers always stay at their homes to personally receive each and every delivery? Shah said, adding that police officers had waited five hours before giving the notice to an official of the CMO.

At a press conference later in the day, Atishi said, "This is not notice from Crime Branch but a letter, in which there is no mention of sections of CrPC, IPC, PMLA." On January 27, Kejriwal and Atishi had claimed that the BJP was trying to poach AAP MLAs by offering Rs 25 crore each and a ticket to contest next year's assembly polls to topple the AAP government.

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  The BJP had rubbished the allegations, terming them "false" and "baseless", and dared the chief minister to furnish evidence to back his claims.

  Police have approached senior AAP leaders seeking assistance with the names of the MLAs who were approached by the BJP.

According to the notice seen by PTI, the Crime Branch has asked Kejriwal and Atishi to respond to the notice by February 5.

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 "An enquiry is being conducted by Crime Branch, Delhi Police, on a complaint received in respect of the allegations made by you that BJP has offered Rs 25 crore each to sitting MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party for leaving AAP and to join the BJP. These allegations were posted by you on X on January 27," read the notice.

 "The plain reading of the said tweet indicates that you are privy to certain information regarding commission of a cognizable offence. Therefore, you are hereby requested to provide answers to the questionnaire enclosed herewith by February 5," the notice read.

 "Any additional/supplementary information that you may wish to share or which may be deemed by you to be of any assistance for the enquiry, may either be tendered in writing or can be got recorded by the undersigned on the date and venue mentioned above," it added.  BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said the probe agencies are doing their job, and "we should let them do it".  "I believe that if you're telling the truth, then you will fight and not try to run away (from investigation), and that's called being honest," he added. PTI BM SLB  KVK KVK

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