Delhi Chief Minister calls Modi 'a psychopath'

Kejriwal also accuses PM of waging political vendetta after office raid by federal officials

NEW DELHI • Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of waging a "psychopathic" political vendetta after federal investigators raided his administration's headquarters.

While not giving a detailed explanation for the raid, a spokesman for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) confirmed officers had sealed off several offices in the Delhi secretariat where Mr Kejriwal is based.

The firebrand Chief Minister, who is the founder and leader of the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), said that his own office was among the rooms that were raided yesterday, although the CBI denied this was the case.

News of the raid was broken by Mr Kejriwal himself, who posted on Twitter that "CBI raids my office", and then accused his arch-rival Modi of being "a coward and a psychopath" who could not "handle me politically".

India television cited sources in the bureau as saying the raid was against Mr Kejriwal's principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.

A spokesman for the bureau gave few details, but insisted that Mr Kejriwal's own office had not been targeted.

"We are investigating a case against a staffer from the Chief Minister's office," the CBI's spokesman R. K. Gaur said.

"Our team didn't raid the Chief Minister's office, but restricted entry to certain areas."

But Mr Kejriwal said the CBI, which is funded by the central government, was "lying".

"My own office raided. Files of CM (Chief Minister) office are being looked into. Let Modi say which file he wants. If CBI had any evidence against Rajendra, why didn't they share it (with) me?"

Mr Kejriwal and Mr Modi are bitter rivals and even stood against each other at last year's general election in the Varanasi constituency. Although Mr Kejriwal was beaten by Mr Modi in the general election, he then oversaw a dramatic landslide victory over Mr Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the polls in January for the Delhi state assembly.

The two men have since clashed repeatedly, with Mr Kejriwal accusing the federal government of blocking a series of initiatives, including a new push to clean up the Indian capital's polluted skies.

Mr Kejriwal, a former tax inspector and self-styled revolutionary, has also been pushing to be given control of the police force operating in Delhi, in line with other state administrations, but his calls have been rebuffed by the Prime Minister.

There was no immediate reaction from Mr Modi, who is himself usually a prolific Twitter user.

Although Mr Kejriwal's party had a disappointing showing in parliamentary elections in May last year, its victory in Delhi bolstered its hopes of making major inroads elsewhere, especially as the main national opposition Congress party is in the electoral doldrums.

AAP, in particular, has high hopes for the state elections in Punjab, which are due early next year. All four of the seats that the party won in the legislative elections are in Punjab.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'Delhi Chief Minister calls Modi 'a psychopath''. Print Edition | Subscribe