New Delhi: The ink-attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was a "clear-cut case of security lapse" and the Delhi Police did not behave responsibly in protecting him, a Delhi court said today while granting bail to the woman accused in the incident.
Noting that Kejriwal was "fortunate enough that liquid contained in the bottle was simply ink", Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal said "one may imagine what would have been the situation in case, god forbid, the bottle could have contained some corrosive substance like acid etc, mixed with ink."
"If Chief Minister of Delhi is not safe, one may wonder as to what will be the fate of ordinary prudent citizens of Delhi," he wondered.
"I fail to understand as to how a bottle containing ink could not be detected during frisking. This is a clear-cut case of security lapses on part of police, especially in the circumstances when the public gathering was addressed in a walled stadium and not in an unfenced ground," the judge said.
The court, however, enlarged 26-year-old Bhawna Arora on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 with one surety of the like amount, saying "no useful purpose shall be served by keeping the applicant behind bars".
The police, "it appears, has not taken any lesson from the past. It is highly regrettable that even despite having earlier experiences of such incidents, the police could not behave responsibly to take effective steps for the protection of the Chief Minister and others present at the stage," the court said.
It noted that "security of constitutional authorities is the responsibility of the State and the police should re-look and revisit its system of providing security to them after learning from bad experiences in the past."
The court also said the police should "strengthen and train itself" to tackle such incidents and expressed its displeasure as to "how the bottle containing ink could not be detected during frisking."
During arguments on bail, Arora's counsel Pradeep Rana said it was not right to throw ink on the head of State but it was the sentiment of his client, "a young woman, who despite continuous efforts for bringing to light certain scam before the CM, was not afforded any opportunity by him or his cabinet colleagues."
"She has already got lesson, more than she deserved in the matter and no purpose would be served by keeping her in jail," Rana said while alleging that record has been manipulated by the police only to send her to jail.
The police opposed Arora's bail plea saying the accused has committed an offence against the head of the State and matter was still under investigation. It said that the conspiracy angle was also being probed.
The police also termed the attack on the Chief Minister as an "attack on the democracy" and sought dismissal of her plea saying a deterrent was required to curb such incidents.
In its order, the court also had a word of caution for the accused saying, "the practice adopted by applicant (Arora) for raising her grievances is insalubrious and she could have opted for some legal platform for the same, rather than by adopting and resorting to such type of condemnable acts."
"In a developed democracy, it is the duty of the persons who have got mandate to redress the grievances of the public and also in order to highlight and apprise their achievements to the public so as to keep the citizens abreast of all development programmes undertaken by them. Such type of incidents no doubt are shameful and against the very system of administration," the court said.
Arora, who was in judicial custody, had allegedly thrown ink at Kejriwal at a 'thanksgiving' rally held at Chhatrasal Stadium on January 17 to celebrate the successful completion of the odd-even car rationing scheme in Delhi.
The woman, who had claimed to be a member of the Punjab unit of Aam Aadmi Sena, a splinter group of Delhi's ruling AAP, was later whisked away by police and questioned at the Model Town police station.
Arora had claimed she had "proof in the form of a CD" on the CNG scam. A resident of Rama Vihar in outer Delhi's Rohini sub-city, she was booked for alleged offences under sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC.
(With PTI inputs)