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Court terms incident premeditated conspiracy, denies bail to AAP MLAs

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the bail pleas of AAP legislators Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, who were arrested on a charge of assaulting Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at Chief Minister Kejriwal’s residence.

The court observed that prima facie the circumstances point to a “premeditated criminal conspiracy” and it cannot be treated in “a casual and routine manner”, considering the point that they were “history-sheeters”.

However, Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tondon declined to grant police custody for the two AAP legislators, saying that there was no new ground for their custodial interrogation.

Pronouncing a detailed verdict in a packed courtroom having tight security arrangements, the magistrate said the allegations were “very serious”. The Chief Secretary (CS), as alleged, was called for a meeting at Kejriwal’s residence at an odd hour, despite expressing his reluctance, the court further noted.

The court said in its order that during the meeting attended by the Chief Secretary in the course of his official duty, he was “assaulted, abused, manhandled and criminally intimidated” by the accused.

It observed that the investigation in this regard was at a premature stage and that there was a possibility of the accused, if released on bail, influencing the witnesses in the matter.

The court ruled, “The submission of prosecution that if enlarged on bail, the accused persons shall influence witnesses vital to the prosecution case and shall hamper the investigation, being in power, cannot be overlooked and judicial discretion must ensure public order. With this background, the bail applications of both accused persons, namely Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, are hereby dismissed.”

So far as the police application for custodial interrogation is concerned, the court said the only new fact that has emerged, as per the prosecution, was that Kejriwal’s adviser V K Jain has mentioned in his statement recorded under Section 164 Cr PC that he had received the complainant at the CM’s residence at midnight and witnessed the incident of assault. Therefore, he has to be confronted with the accused persons with respect to the timings and identifying the remaining MLAs, it added.

The court also observed that the “version of the complainant (CS) is corroborated by statement of VK Jain recorded on oath under Section 164 CrPC and the MLC of the complainant. Hence, at this stage it cannot be looked with suspicion without any cogent reason or evidence to the contrary.”

The court took note of the list of 11 MLAs submitted by the defence counsel and the seven names given by Jain and observed that the remaining legislators can be identified by showing their photographs to the CS as they were sitting MLAs and not unknown people.