Former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today refused to furnish a bail bond in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari before a court here which asked if the AAP leader was looking for "some exceptional treatment".
Kejriwal, who appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against him, told Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha that he was ready to give an undertaking that he will appear before the court but refused to furnish bail bond to secure bail.
During the hearing, the magistrate observed, "I completely agree but why he (Kejriwal) will not furnish bail bond. What is the problem. There is a procedure and why should we follow different procedure in this case.
"I agree he will appear in the court but the procedure is that a person has to file bail bond. Are you looking for some exception treatment?"
Kejriwal, who also argued in the court, told the judge that he has not committed any heinous crime and added that he was not looking for any exceptional treatment.
"This is my principle that when I have not done anything wrong, I will not seek bail. I am ready to go to jail," he said.
Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Rahul Mehra, who appeared for Kejriwal, told the magistrate that these cases are of political nature and as per the principle of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), they will not furnish bail bond.
Bhushan also argued that there was no possibility that Kejriwal would tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses and filing of undertaking was correct.
Senior advocate Pinki Anand, who appeared for Gadkari, opposed the contentions of defence counsel, saying there was no procedure in law to furnish undertaking and law should not vary for anyone.
The court after hearing the arguments advanced by both the parties reserved its order for 4 PM on the issue of filing of undertaking by Kejriwal.
The court had earlier directed Kejriwal to positively appear before it today in the defamation case.
The court had on February 28 summoned Kejriwal as an accused in the criminal defamation complaint observing that statements allegedly made by the AAP leader have the effect of "harming the reputation" of the complainant.
The summon was issued against Kejriwal on a complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by Kejriwal, who had included his name in the party's list of "India's most corrupt".
During the day's proceedings, the counsel appearing for Gadkari, moved an application seeking exemption on behalf of the BJP leader. The court allowed the plea.
As soon as the hearing began, Bhushan said Kejriwal would give an undertaking that he would appear before the court but he would not furnish any bail bond.
Senior advocate Pinky Anand, however, opposed it saying law is equal for all and Kejriwal should furnish bail bond.
Advocate Mehra argued that they were not asking for any "special treatment" and the procedures nowhere say that a person cannot file an undertaking.
At this juncture, the magistrate said, "This is not a state case. This is a complaint case. I have no problem if you give an undertaking. But why there should be a divergent view in this case only?"
"When you are representing AAP, we expect you to behave like an 'Aam Aadmi'. Let the procedure be same for every one.
Is there a problem in furnishing bail bond?," the magistrate said.
The magistrate also observed, "what you (Kejriwal) are asking for is differential treatment."
To this, Kejriwal said that this was basically a political case and he has not committed any crime.
"We are starting a new initiative (of filing undertaking).We are setting a precedence. I am not saying that give this treatment only to me. Give it to all," the AAP leader said.
The magistrate, however, said this is a defamation complaint and procedures cannot be simplified in this case.
Gadkari's counsel argued that the court should pass an order on the issue.