New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal spent Wednesday night in the Tihar Jail after he was taken into custody when he refused to pay a bail bond in the Nitin Gadkari defamation case. The police have imposed prohibitory orders outside the Tihar Jail.
There was high drama in the national capital after AAP protestors were forcibly picked up by the Delhi Police following the arrest of Kejriwal. AAP leader Prashant Bhushan criticised the court's order, calling it wrong. The AAP even defended the protest outside the Tihar Jail.
"The court has given a wrong order. The protest is for showing solidarity for Kejriwal," Bhushan said.
"The Tihar Jail area is highly guarded and the AAP members and leaders have been detained because they were interrupting traffic and causing trouble for the public," said Ranbir Singh, Additional CP, West Zone.
The BJP was quick to hit back, slamming Kejriwal for staging a political stunt, not respecting the legal process and challenging the magistrate's order on the streets of Delhi. "Kejriwal did this only to get media attention because he remained out of news for a long time. Kejriwal's decision not to fill bail bond indicates that he and his party do not believe in Indian legal and judicial system," Delhi BJP leader Harsh Vardhan said.
The court while passing the order also made some scathing observations. "The procedure of the court cannot be thrown to the winds at the whims and fancies of the litigants. The court cannot act as a kite spectator when a particular litigant intentionally seeks to violate procedures of law. This case cannot be dealt with any differently than other criminal cases. The accused cannot seek preferential treatment to be let off only on oral undertaking in violation to settled practices regarding bail," Metropolitan Magistrate Gomti Manocha's order said.
The drama unfolded on a day Arvind Kejriwal apologised to the people of Delhi for resigning as the chief minister. The AAP is now seeking fresh elections in Delhi.
While the AAP claims that in four other cases, Kejriwal got away just by giving an undertaking, Gadkari's counsel argued this was the normal procedure. "This is the right order. This is the only order the court could have passed," Pinky Anand said.
While it is a legal setback for Arvind Kejriwal, which he intends to challenge in the High Court, it has also galvanised the volunteers who were demoralised by the defeat in the national capital. As the AAP workers protest in front of Tihar, some ask whether this is what the party needed to spring back to the national consciousness.