New Delhi/Chandigarh, May 6: The Punjab Police on Friday said it has arrested Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga from his residence in the national capital in connection with a case registered against him in Mohali last month.
However, vehicles bringing Bagga, who has been highly vocal against Kejriwal on social media, from Delhi to Mohali got held up in Haryana's Kurukshetra. Sources said the vehicles have been taken to a police station in Kurukshetra's Pipli.
Asked why the Punjab police team had been stopped, a Haryana police official said there was information that Bagga had been "forcibly" picked up from his residence. "We have to verify and crosscheck these things," he said.
Senior Haryana police officials were present at the spot. There were also reports of some BJP workers reaching the Pipli police station to protest Bagga's arrest.
As the situation escalated with the AAP and the BJP trading charges, the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping based on a complaint by Bagga's father that some people came to his house in Delhi's Janakpuri around 8 am and took away his son.
The Punjab police, in a statement, said Bagga was being brought to Punjab and would be produced before a court.
Bagga (36) was arrested in the morning from his home following due process of law, the Punjab Police said while claiming that despite being served five notices, he did not join the investigation.
Last month, the Punjab Police booked him on charges of making provocative statements, promoting enmity and criminal intimidation. The case was registered on a complaint of AAP leader Sunny Ahluwalia, a resident of Mohali.
The FIR registered on April 1 referred to Bagga's remarks on March 30, when he was part of a BJP youth wing protest outside the Delhi chief minister's residence.
The Delhi BJP spokesperson came under fire from the AAP, which is ruling both Delhi and Punjab, for his tweet against Kejriwal over 'The Kashmir Files' movie.
Bagga's arrest triggered a strong reaction from the BJP which accused the Punjab Police of "abducting" the party spokesperson, and alleged that AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal is pursuing vendetta through the state police. It also alleged that Kejriwal has a "dictatorial mindset".
BJP leader from Punjab and the party's national general secretary Tarun Chugh tweeted, "The manner in which Kejriwal is misusing Punjab Police is condemnable. The Punjab Police has arrested Bagga from his home."
"They behaved inhumanly with Bagga and his father. But remember (Arvind) Kejriwal Ji, your such acts cannot scare a true Sikh," he said in the tweet.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said a complaint has been lodged at the Janakpuri police station in the national capital over the Punjab Police allegedly beating Bagga's father.
"FIR was lodged at Janakpuri police station over the Punjab Police beating Tajinder Bagga's father. Sending 50-60 Punjab Police personnel to the house of the young BJP leader, forcibly lifting him and getting his elderly father beaten up is proof of the dictatorial mindset of Arvind Kejriwal," he tweeted in Hindi.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa alleged that a Sikh, a reference to Bagga, has been "insulted" despite Punjab having a Sikh chief minister in Bhagwant Mann.
Bagga had been "unmasking" Kejriwal's lies, and that is why he has been targeted, Sirsa said at a press conference.
Another Delhi BJP leader, Nupur Sharma, cited a court ruling to say that police from another state must inform local police before making any arrest. Punjab Police's action, she said, was illegal as it did not inform its Delhi counterparts.
In the morning, Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra claimed that "over 50 Punjab police personnel arrested Tejinder Bagga from his house. It seems Arvind Kejriwal has used the Punjab Police's might to silence Bagga".
In a video posted on Twitter, he alleged the Punjab Police was being "misused" against activists and not for maintaining law and order in the state.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the party strongly condemns the arrest of Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.
"It's highly shameful that Kejriwal has started political misuse of power and the police in AAP-ruled Punjab to scare his opponents. Every citizen of Delhi stands with Bagga and his family in this hour of crisis," he said.
Following the arrest, the Punjab Police, in a statement, said "The accused was served five notices under Sections 41 A CrPC to come and join the investigation. The notices dated April 9, 11, 15, 22 and 28 were duly served upon. Despite that, the accused deliberately did not join the investigation."
"On Friday morning, by following due process of law, the accused has been arrested from his home in Janakpuri, New Delhi. He is being brought to Punjab and will be produced before a court," it said, adding that further investigation was on.
The FIR against Bagga was registered under relevant IPC sections, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place, etc.), 505 (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
According to the Punjab Police statement, the FIR was based on a complaint about "instigation/incitement/criminal intimidation to cause violence, use of force, imminent hurt in a predesigned and orchestrated manner by making/publishing provocative, false and communal inflammatory statements through his interview given to the media and through his Twitter posts".