New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday he will not seek bail in Coalgate scam protests case and will respect court order. He, however, said the police had "no reason" to impose section 144 on him and others, as they were holding "peaceful protests".
"On August 26, many of us had gone to gherao the house of Mrs Gandhi (Sonia Gandhi), the Prime Minister and Mr Nitin Gadkari. And it was a peaceful protest. There was no violence. We were moving peacefully when suddenly the police started lathicharging us. They used tear gas, water cannons etc. They imposed section 144. There was no reason to impose section 144 because we were completely peaceful," he said.
AAP leader Prashant Bhushan reflected similar views and said, "The protest in August (2012) in Delhi was peaceful and the police has wrongly accused of inciting violence. It has become a system now to file chargesheets against political opponents and get them to run around courts."
Court had summoned Kejriwal and other AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Manish Sisodia and Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday in the case of breach of section 144, during which they protested outside residences of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. They were protesting against coal allocation scam that came to light in 2012.
"We were protesting against coal scam. According to CAG estimates, more than Rs 200000 crore worth scam has taken place. In this both parties (Congress and BJP) are involved and many politicians are involved," said the AAP leader.
The court has summoned them under sections relating to rioting, unlawful assembly and obstructing public servants in the discharge of their duty. Kejriwal and others had been detained outside PM's residence in August 2012, for violating prohibitory orders as they moved in to gherao his house after a CAG report said the national exchequer lost around Rs 1.86 lakh crore due to coal allocations without competitive bidding during 2005-09.
"You cannot restrict the movement of people and violate fundamental rights. So today in the court we will confess that we broke section 144 because we feel according to Supreme Court judgements section 144 cannot be used or misused by the police arbitrarily. There has to be some very grave circumstance for which it can be used. Now, it has become almost a daily routine for the police to impose second 144 for protecting so called VIPs," Kejriwal lashed out.
However, he added they will plead not guilty for charges such as public property destruction or obstruction of public servants from going to work. "We did not destroy public property. We did not obstruct the work of public servants. On the contrary, public servants were not doing their duty. Police was not doing its duty."
"Duty of police is to save country from corruption. They should register FIRs on the basis of CAG report. Why are they not doing it? Police is protecting people who are indulging in corruption, is this their duty?" Kejriwal demanded.
"We are provoking the system or is the system provoking people of this country? (Suresh) Kalmadi is found to guilty and the PM makes him head of JNURM and he gets bail. No corrupt people get jail. People who indulge in coal scam are roaming free. There are no chargesheets against them. There are no FIRs against them. And people who protest against the coal scam, within 5 months, there is a chargesheet and FIR against them. The system works so fast against the people of this country. But the system is so slow against the people who are corrupt," he further added.