Kejriwal jailed, Sec 144 imposed near Tihar jail

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Arvind KejriwalNew Delhi, May 21- Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in connection with the defamation suite filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari was followed by high voltage drama at Tihar Jail where the former Delhi CM is lodged for two days.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed outside the Tihar jail on Wednesday evening when clashes broke out between AAP supporters and Delhi Police.

Around 70-80 workers including MLAs and other senior leaders were arrested from outside Tihar jail. Police have also imposed section 144 outside the jail premises. Senior leaders like Yogendra Yadav, Manish Sisodia were dragged by the police personnel.

Kejriwal was sent to judicial custody when he refused to submit a bail amount of Rs 10,000 in the case filed by Gadkari in February. AAP has defended Kejriwal saying that the decision to not pay the bail bond was taken on ‘principles’. Kejriwal will be kept in jail number 3 of Tihar in the cell where veteran anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare was lodged in 2011.

As Kejriwal languished inside the jail, fervent protests continued outside the jail premises. Delhi Police cordoned-off the area which was criticised by AAP leaders. “We were merely expressing our solidarity with Kejriwal. We were not causing any obstruction to the traffic or the security of Tihar,” party leader Yogendra Yadav said.

Another AAP leader Manish Sisodia echoed the views of Yogendra Yadav saying, “We are sitting on the foothpath and protesting and that is not wrong.”

AAP termed the decision of the court to send its leader Arvind Kejriwal to jail as “erroneous” and said there was no provision in the law which makes it mandatory for a defendant in a defamation case to furnish a bail bond when he is willimg to remain present for hearing.

“The AAP totally disagrees with the decision of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate to send Kejriwal to judicial custody. There is no provision in law which makes it mandatory for a defendant against whom a complaint is filed in a defamation case to furnish a bail bond, particularly when he is ready and willing to be present in the court on the fixed date of hearing,” the party said in a statement.

The party said that there were at least four cases in which courts have accepted undertakings given by Kejriwal which were of similar nature and did not insist on a bail bond.

“In defamation cases filed by Pavan Khera and Amit Sibal, the courts accepted the undertaking given by Kejriwal and a similar procedure was followed in two other cases registered against him pertaining to protests against the coal scam,” the party added.

“Despite the erroneous court order, the AAP will continue and intensify its fight against corruption and for ensuring the rights of the common man,” it said.

The party also took a dig at Gadkari for filing a defamation suit merely on political statements. “It is very surprising that Gadkari had then chosen to remain quiet despite all documents about his Purti group of industries and other deals were exposed by the AAP.

“He has now filed a defamation case merely on a political statement that the AAP will put up candidates against all corrupt leaders including Gadkari,” the statement added.

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