Sensing an ulterior motive behind the Enforcement Directorate’s statement in court on Monday that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told them that co-accused Vijay Nair was not reporting to him but to his Cabinet colleagues Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj, the AAP charged that it’s a move aimed at putting the next line of party leaders behind bars.

Delhi Minister Atishi held a press conference on Tuesday and made sensational charges, “In the coming two months before the Lok Sabha elections, they (ED) will arrest four more AAP leaders. They will arrest me, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak and Raghav Chadha...”

Interestingly, Raghav Chadha has been missing from action at a time when his party is facing a crisis due to the arrest of their leader Kejriwal. However, it is learnt that he has travelled to London for an eye operation.

Atishi claimed she was approached through a close aide to join the BJP to save and make her political career. If she does not join the BJP, the AAP leader claimed, she was threatened that in the coming months she will be arrested.

Her allegations are in line with similar claims made by other AAP MLAs since Kejriwal’s arrest in the Delhi excise case on March 21.

After Kejriwal’s ED custody ended, he was produced before a Special PMLA Judge at the Rouse Avenue Courts on Monday. During the court hearing, the ED charged that the Delhi CM was not cooperating in the investigation and also submitted that he gave a statement that Vijay Nair, who was in charge of the AAP’s communication, was not reporting to him but to Atishi and Bhardwaj.

Nair was a party to the acceptance of the Rs 100-crore bribe South Group offered to get contracts in the Delhi liquor business, the ED has alleged.

Questioning the timing of the agency’s revelation, Minister Atishi said, “Yesterday, the ED took Saurabh Bharadwaj and my name in court, on the basis of a statement that has been available with the ED and CBI for one-and-a-half years; this statement is in the ED’s charge sheet. It is also in the CBI’s charge sheets, so why was the statement raised?”

According to her, “The statement was raised because the BJP feels that despite Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, and Satyendra Jain being in jail, the Aam Aadmi Party is still united and strong. Now they are planning to put the next line of leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party in jail...”

The BJP, however, denied any such move and stated that it’s a manifestation of the AAP’s internal tussle. “I, too, can make such baseless allegations. I, too, can say that Saurabh Bharadwaj called me up and requested me to protect them from Arvind Kejriwal, who wants to put them behind bars and make Sunita Kejriwal the CM. This is their internal tussle, which is coming out again and again, BJP leader RP Singh said.

Singh said it is clear that the fight for the CM’s post has begun in AAP, and Saurabh Bharadwaj and Atishi are on one side, and Sunita Kejriwal and her husband Arvind Kejriwal are on the other.

Atishi also said there is no bar on Kejriwal continuing as the Delhi CM as far as the constitution and legal provisions are considered. The Representation of the People Act says that a person cannot remain an MLA or MP only if he or she faces conviction for more than two years. And, constitutionally, a CM cannot stay in office on losing a majority in the assembly, she added.

Not even a chargesheet has been filed against Kejriwal and he enjoys the overwhelming majority of the Delhi Assembly, so there is no reason for Arvind Kejriwal to resign, the Delhi Minister said.