The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Delhi Police’s plea against a High Court order allowing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s petition in the case of an alleged assault on former Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in 2018, reported PTI.
The High Court order, passed in October, directed the police to provide a copy of a witness statement to Kejriwal and Sisodia.
Prakash had alleged that Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan had assaulted him in Kejriwal’s home on February 19, 2018. The police had then questioned multiple AAP legislators who were present when the alleged incident took place, along with Kejriwal and Sisodia.
In the chargesheet, the Delhi Police named 13 Aam Aadmi Party legislators, including Kejriwal and Sisodia. Kejriwal and Sisodia were booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 120B (criminal conspiracy), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).
AAP leaders Khan, Jarwal, Nitin Tyagi, Rituraj Govind, Sanjeev Jha, Ajay Dutt, Rajesh Rishi, Rajesh Gupta, Madan Lal, Parveen Kumar and Dinesh Mohania are also named in the chargesheet, which several Delhi ministers criticised for being “based on imaginary and false allegations by frustrated elements”. They accused the Centre of conducting a “witch-hunt against the Delhi government that was elected with highest-ever mandate in India’s electoral history”.
During the hearing on Thursday, a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud rejected the Delhi Police’s petition, saying that as per natural justice it is common sense that the accused must have the copy.
“It might be a political hot potato, but legally, it is nothing,” the bench said, according to Live Law. “It is not worth lingering on this matter. It is a good view of the High Court and it is in the interest of liberty and we will affirm it.”
In October 2018, Kejriwal, Sisodia and other AAP legislators accused in connection with the alleged assault were granted bail.
The Delhi High Court had in October last year set aside a sessions court judgement rejecting Kejriwal and Sisodia’s plea to provide the statement of VK Jain, a witness in the alleged assault case. Jain was also an adviser to Kejriwal.
The High Court had then said that the police cannot selectively place evidence on record.