NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday discharged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and nine AAP MLAs in a 2018 case of assault on the then chief secretary Anshu Prakash. The others MLAs discharged were Rajesh Rishi, Nitin Tyagi, Praveen Kumar, Ajay Dutt, Sanjeev Jha, Rituraj Govind, Rajesh Gupta, Madan Lal and Dinesh Mohania.
The CM’s conduct clearly was “not in consonance with the allegations levelled against him”, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sachin Gupta said. He noted that the CM had asked Amantullah and Jarwal to refrain from committing the crime and had even permitted the complainant to leave the meeting.
However, the court ordered framing of charges against AAP MLAs Amantullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal saying that prima facie case was made out against them. The court ordered charges framed under IPC Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 34 (common intention).
Welcoming the order, Kejriwal tweeted, “Satyameva Jayate”. Sisosdia said, “Today is the day of victory of justice and truth....This is the first incident when an elected PM has tried to derail the government of an elected chief minister in this manner. Public has elected both governments, you should not be busy in conspiracies and spying on opposition governments. The PM and the BJP should apologise to the countrymen for this.”
The BJP and the Congress, however, sought the expulsion of Khan and Jarwal from the AAP. They also demanded that Kejriwal apologise to Anshu Prakash for the incident.The controversy dates back to 2018, when the then chief secretary alleged that Kejriwal and the APP MLAs physically assaulted him at a meeting at the CM’s residence on the evening of February 19.
The matter caused a stir within the civil servant community taking to the streets condemning the ‘misbehaviour’ by the chief minister and the lawmakers with a senior IAS officer. This led to days of stalemate between the government and the bureaucrats, with officials refusing to participate in meetings called by ministers as mark of protest. Finally, L-G Anil Baijal’s intervention ended the impasse.
Days of drama
On February 20, 2018, the then Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash had alleged that he was assaulted during a meeting at the chief minister’s residence
The charges by Prakash were denied by Kejriwal and Sisodia while the ruling AAP accused the chief secretary of levelling false allegations at the behest of the BJP-led central government
Delhi Police arrested AAP MLA Prakash Jarwal and Amantullah Khan in the case within 48 hours, but both of them got bail from the high court in March 2018
Kejriwal was questioned by police for over three hours on May 18, 2018 even as a police team led by an additional DCP visited the chief minister’s residence for checking CCTV cameras installed there
As the tussle dragged on, the chief minister, accompanied by his three cabinet colleagues, staged a nine-day-long sit in at the L-G office over the alleged strike by the bureaucrats in June 2018
Delhi Police filed its charge sheet in the case on August 13, 2018 naming Kejriwal and Sisodia as accused. Eleven AAP MLAs, including Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, were also made accused
In October 2018, Kejriwal, Sisodia and nine other AAP MLAs were granted bail in the case by a court