Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Wednesday arrested and sent to Tihar Jail until May 23 by a Delhi court after he refused to furnish the bail amount in a criminal defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. Kejriwal’s bail had been set for Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.
Rejecting Kejriwal’s stand that he be allowed to give an undertaking that he will be present in court on every case date, the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said, “The accused is just adamant about not furnishing bail bond or a personal bond for his appearance before the court...The court cannot be a mute spectator when a particular litigant intentionally seeks to violate the procedure established by law... 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 court said.
Kejriwal was summoned as an accused in a defamation case filed by Gadkari, who claimed that he had been defamed by Kejriwal because he had included Gadkari’s name in the AAP’s list of ‘India’s most corrupt’.
On February 28, the court had summoned Kejriwal as an accused in the complaint, observing that statements allegedly made by the AAP leader had the effect of “harming the reputation” of the complainant (Gadkari).
After the court’s order on Wednesday, Kejriwal was taken to a lock-up on the court premises and later to Tihar Jail.
During the first half of the hearing, Kejriwal said he was ready to give an undertaking that he will appear before the court but refused to furnish bail bond.
The magistrate said, “What is the problem? There is a procedure and why should we follow different procedure in this case? I agree he will appear in court, but the procedure is that a person has to file bail bond. Are you looking for some exceptional treatment?”
Kejriwal argued that he had not committed any heinous crime and 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 court that these cases were of a political nature and, hence, it was the AAP’s principle not to furnish bail bond in such cases.