New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and four other AAP leaders, accused of violating prohibitory orders in Delhi and obstructing public servants in discharge of their duty during an agitation, were on Monday directed to appear before a Delhi court on May 15.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain was irked that Kejriwal and other accused had not appeared before it even on the last date of hearing and said there was “no justifiable ground” for their exemption from personal appearance.
Advocate Rishikesh Kumar, who appeared for the accused, assured the court that Kejriwal, Sisodia and other accused would positively appear before it on Tuesday.
“Kindly give us time for tomorrow. They (accused) all will appear. I am giving undertaking that they will appear before the court tomorrow,” the counsel said.
“It has been submitted that accused number one (Kejriwal) and accused number two (Sisodia) are Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and remaining accused persons are senior members of the AAP and could not appear today due to their busy schedule. Perusal of the records shows that accused persons did not appear on the last date of hearing,” the court said.
“No justifiable grounds for exemption is made out….Put up for appearance of accused persons and arguments on charge on May 15,” the magistrate said.
Kejriwal, Sisodia and AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti and Ashutosh were chargesheeted by the Delhi Police in connection with the case. All the accused were earlier granted bail by the court.
Kejriwal and other leaders had staged a ‘dharna' outside Rail Bhavan demanding action against police officials who had refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi in January 2014.
The six accused were chargesheeted by the police for allegedly violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC and also obstructing public servants in discharge of their official duty.
The police had chargesheeted them under various sections of the IPC, including 145 (joining and continuing in an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public function), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty).
In its charge sheet, the police had claimed that on January 19 last year, the Assistant Commissioner of Police had imposed prohibitory orders in North Block, South Block, Vijay Chowk areas near Rail Bhavan and Parliament Street.
On January 20, 2014, Kejriwal and other AAP leaders assembled at the Rail Bhavan chowk defying the prohibitory orders, it had said.
The police had alleged that on being told about the prohibitory orders, Kejriwal had told the cops that he would go to the then Home Minister's office at North Block in his car and also laid a condition that mediapersons and his supporters would accompany him.
The charge sheet had further claimed that Kejriwal, Sisodia and other AAP leaders along with 250-300 supporters defied the orders and started moving towards the then Home Minister's office.
When the police officials present there tried to stop them with barricades, these leaders instigated their supporters and they manhandled policemen, it had alleged.
According to the police, Kejriwal and his supporters then sat on a ‘dharna' at the chowk defying the prohibitory orders.
The charge sheet had said when Kejriwal and his supporters were stopped at the barricades at Rail Bhavan chowk, they raised slogans against the police, the central government and the Home Ministry and tried to move forward by manhandling the police officials present there.
When the protesters were stopped, Kejriwal got annoyed and declared that he would stage ‘dharna' for the next 10 days at Rail Bhawan chowk, it had said. He sat there and gave instigating speeches, the police had alleged.
Kejriwal had demanded immediate suspension of the “corrupt” officials who refused to act in the interest of the public whose cause Somnath Bharti had taken up, it had said.
Bharti had created a controversy in January last year when he went to a locality in his constituency in Malviya Nagar, claiming a drug and prostitution ring was being run from a residence and demanded that the police raid the place.