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Defamation complaint: Arvind Kejriwal sent to jail

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 5:37pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

rvind Kejriwal was today arrested and sent to Tihar Jail till May 23 by a Delhi court after he refused to furnish bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. "Take him into custody," Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha ordered after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Chief Minister repeatedly refused to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.

"In these circumstances as the accused has refused to furnish bail bond or even personal bond without surety, this court is constrained to take the accused into custody. "Let the accused be sent to judicial custody and be produced before the court on May 23," the magistrate said. Kejriwal was summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader, who had included his name in the party's list of "India's most corrupt".

After the court pronounced its order, Kejriwal was taken into lock up inside the court premises amid tight security and later taken to Tihar Jail. The magistrate, in her three-page order, also observed that the procedure of courts cannot be "thrown to the winds" at the whims and fancies of the litigants. "The court cannot act as a mute spectator when a particular litigant intentionally seeks to violate the procedure established by law. "This case cannot be dealt with any differently than any other criminal cases where the courts insist on furnishing bail bond/personal bond to secure the presence of the accused persons. "The accused in the present case cannot seek differential treatment to be let off only on an oral undertaking in violation/divergence to the settled practice/procedure regarding bail," the court said.

The court, in its order, also said that this was not a case where the accused is unable to furnish bail bond due to financial inability. "The accused is just adamant to not furnish bail bond or even a personal bond for his appearance before the court," it said.  The court reserved its order in the morning after hearing arguments from the counsel for Kejriwal and Gadkari on the issue of filing of undertaking and not furnishing bond to secure bail.  Kejriwal said 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 argument earlier in the day, the court asked if the AAP leader was looking for "some exceptional treatment". 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 exceptional 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 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 had earlier directed Kejriwal to positively appear before it today in the matter. 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. During the day's proceedings, the court also allowed the application of Gadkari's counsel seeking exemption from personal appearance for today on behalf of the BJP leader. 

Pinky Anand who said law is equal for all and the AAP leader should furnish the bail bond. 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. During the hearing, a lawyer started shouting in the courtroom that the law is governed by the CrPC and Kejriwal should be sent to jail.

The court, however, said that somebody who is not representing the parties should not make unnecessary comments during the proceedings. Gadkari had said that on January 31 this year, Kejriwal had issued a list of alleged "India's most corrupt" in which he had named various politicians, including him. On January 31, Kejriwal had accused several politicians of being "corrupt" and had said AAP will field candidates against them in Lok Sabha polls.




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