Ke­jri­wal’s iconic blue Wagonr stolen from out­side Delhi sectt

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Shiv Sunny and Gu­lam Jee­lani htre­porters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

AAM AADMI CAR The ve­hi­cle be­longed to the party and was be­ing used by AAP’S me­dia co­or­di­na­tor Van­dana Singh for the past 2 years

NEW DELHI: The ‘iconic’ blue Maruti Wagonr car that chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal drove around in his early po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and even camped in dur­ing an ag­i­ta­tion in 2014 was stolen from out­side the Delhi Sec­re­tar­iat build­ing, which houses the CM of­fice, on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The car be­longs to the Aam Aadmi Party and for the last two years was be­ing used by Van­dana Singh, the party’s me­dia co­or­di­na­tor and in-charge of its youth wing. It was of­ten seen parked at the party of­fice at Cen­tral Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upad­hya Marg.

Once nick­named ‘ AAP Mo­bile’, the hatch­back shot to lime­light in Jan­uary 2014 when Ke­jri­wal camped and slept in it dur­ing a protest against the Delhi Po­lice at the Rail Bhawan.

Singh told Hindustan Times that she had driven the car to the Delhi Sec­re­tar­iat around 11.45am on Thurs­day and parked it “on the road­side”, op­po­site gate num­ber 3 of the govern­ment head­quar­ters. “Peo­ple park their cars there,” she told HT when asked if it was a le­gal park­ing spot.

“When I came out and looked for the car around 2.30pm, I found it miss­ing. The CCTV footage showed the car be­ing driven away at 1.04pm, but the vi­su­als were blurred,” she said.

Since she was cer­tain that it was a theft and the car, bear­ing the regis­tra­tion num­ber DL-9CG9769, was not towed away by the traf­fic po­lice, she ap­proached the IP Es­tate po­lice sta­tion. A case of theft has been reg­is­tered and probe is on. When asked if the car was in­sured, Singh said, “I will have to check. It must be.”

“Ini­tially, we were in­formed about a car theft. Later it emerged that this car was be­ing used by Singh. The ve­hi­cle ear­lier be­longed to the Delhi CM,” said MS Rand­hawa, DCP (cen­tral).

I am sad about the loss. I ap­peal to the thieves to give it back. I will even re­ward the per­son who gives any in­for­ma­tion about the ve­hi­cle.

NAVEEN JAI­HIND, AAP’S Haryana in­charge, who used the car for 3 mnths

A po­lice of­fi­cer not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia said in­ves­ti­ga­tors are clue­less about the stolen car or the thief, but have alerted all the check posts in Delhi and are search­ing the pub­lic park­ing lots. “It is pos­si­ble that the thief will aban­don the car on re­al­is­ing its im­por­tance,” said the of­fi­cer.

The ve­hi­cle was syn­ony­mous to Ke­jri­wal’s pos­tur­ing as a ‘peo­ple’s chief min­is­ter’ along with the trade­mark muf­fler, sweater and spec­ta­cles dur­ing his shift from ac­tivism to main­stream pol­i­tics. From the days of cam­paign­ing dur­ing his first elec­tion in 2013 to be­com­ing the CM, the car re­mained his choice of com­mute. The car even fea­tured in AIB mu­sic video “Nayak 2 — The Com­mon Man Rises” chron­i­cling Ke­jri­wal’s rise with char­ac­ter­is­tic hu­mour.

Party’s Uk-based vol­un­teer Kun­dan Sharma, a soft­ware en­gi­neer, had do­nated the car to Ke­jri­wal in Jan­uary 2013. Up­set over the re­moval of party founders Prashant Bhushan and Yo­gen­dra Ya­dav, Sharma had sought the car back in April 2015. Later, he tweeted that it was an at­ten­tion seek­ing ges­ture.

Af­ter us­ing it dur­ing his fa­mous 49-day-stint, Ke­jri­wal gave it to Naveen Jai­hind, the party’s Haryana in­charge. “I am sad about the loss. I ap­peal to the thieves to give it back. I will even re­ward the per­son who gives any in­for­ma­tion about the ve­hi­cle,” said Jai­hind, who used the car for three months.

The party was, how­ever, quick to blame the lieu­tenant gover­nor for fail­ing on law and or­der in Delhi. “The L-G should en­sure in­ci­dents like this don’t hap­pen,” said AAP spokesper­son Sau­rabh Bhard­waj.

The in­ci­dent also high­lighted the grow­ing men­ace of car thefts in the na­tional cap­i­tal where over 110 ve­hi­cles are stolen ev­ery­day on an av­er­age.

SAKIB ALI/HT FILE

The ‘AAP Mo­bile’ is the same car in which the Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal camped and slept in dur­ing a protest against the Delhi Po­lice at the Rail Bhawan in 2014.

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