MUMBAI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and six others were acquitted by the metropolitan magistrate’s court here on Friday in a case for allegedly holding a political rally without requisite police permission in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha candidate Meera Sanyal and others were booked in the case along with Kejriwal and Patkar under various provisions of the Maharashtra Police Act pertaining to holding public rallies without prior permission from the police. The charges carry a prison sentence of up to eight days and/or fine of up to R1000.
Metropolitan Magistrate P K Deshpande observed that the police had failed to give the accused persons a written statement refusing them permission for the rally. The rally in Mankhurd as part of the poll campaign of AAP candidates was “unscheduled” and held without prior requisite permissions from the traffic police, the Mumbai Police had claimed while lodging the complaint against Kejriwal and others in March 2014 at the suburban Mankhurd police station.
The court also said that the police had failed to produce any electronic evidence in support of its case despite having claimed, during the first hearing, that they were in possession of some CCTV footage that helped establish their case. The court said that the police had failed to record statements of witnesses on time.
In March this year, the lawyers for the accused had urged the court to acquit them saying that they had applied for requisite permissions for the rally from the police and civic authorities in advance. While they had been given an oral assent by the police, the traffic department informed the organisers just 30 minutes before the rally that permission had been denied, the lawyers said.