Four Aam Aadmi Party MLAs, including Raghav Chadha, were detained on Sunday while on their way to stage a protest outside home minister Amit Shah's residence in New Delhi, a day after the party alleged misappropriation of crores of rupees by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled municipal corporations and demanded a Central Bureau of Information probe into it.
Shortly after their release, the legislators termed their detention "illegal" and alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was "trying to bury the corruption matter using the Delhi police."
The AAP has alleged misappropriation of over Rs 2,400 crore in the North Delhi and South Delhi municipal corporations and had announced to stage protests outside the residences of Shah and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal from Sunday till a probe is ordered.
Chadha, Burari MLA Sanjeev Jha, Kirari MLA Rituraj Jha and Kondli MLA Kuldeep Kumar were detained on Sunday while they were on their way to stage a protest outside Shah's residence.
Atishi and eight others were briefly detained while protesting in front of the Delhi LG's residence.
Addressing a joint press conference shortly after their release, Chadha said, "There was no provision to detain us, when we asked why we are being detained they said it is because section 144 is in place which prevents assembly of more than four people but then we were four people only who were going to protest."
"It is clear that the scam we have unearthed has involvement of the top brass and that is why these attempts are being made to stop us from raising the matter," Atishi said.
Police said the MLAs were detained as they tired to protest despite being denied permission.
"They had earlier sought permission for a protest, which was rejected by police in view of DDMA (Delhi Disaster Management Authority) guidelines (on COVID-19)," an official said.
Earlier, in a letter to Chadha, police had said they have been denied permission for the protest in view of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) guidelines that state that all social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political functions or other gatherings are prohibited up to December 31 throughout the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"Moreover, promulgation of Section 144 CrPC is already in force in the area of New Delhi district," the letter to Chadha from the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi district, stated.
Chadha said they were going to protest against the "biggest scam" by the BJP-led municipal corporations. "But we were arrested from our residences. Does Amit Shah want to bury this corruption using the Delhi Police," the Rajender Nagar MLA said.
The allegation has been refuted by the BJP.