Arvind Kejriwal was on Wednesday arrested and sent to Tihar jail till May 23 by a Delhi court after he refused to furnish bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari.
“Take him into custody,” Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha ordered after the Aam Aadmit Party leader and former Delhi chief minister repeatedly refused to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.
“In these circumstances as the accused has refused to furnish bail bond or even personal bond without surety, this court is constrained to take the accused into custody. Let the accused be sent to judicial custody and be produced before the court on May 23,” the magistrate said.
Kejriwal was summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader, who had included his name in the party’s list of ‘India’s most corrupt’.
After the court pronounced its order, Kejriwal was taken into lock up inside the court premises amid tight security and later taken to Tihar jail.
The magistrate, in her three-page order, also observed that the procedure of courts cannot be thrown to the winds at the whims and fancies of the litigants. “The court cannot act as a mute spectator when a particular litigant intentionally seeks to violate the procedure established by law. This case cannot be dealt with any differently than any other criminal cases where the courts insist on furnishing bail bond/personal bond to secure the presence of the accused persons. The accused in the present case cannot seek differential treatment to be let off only on an oral undertaking in violation/divergence to the settled practice/procedure regarding bail,” the court said.
The court, in its order, also said that this was not a case where the accused is unable to furnish bail bond due to financial inability. “The accused is just adamant to not furnish bail bond or even a personal bond for his appearance before the court,” it said.
The court reserved its order in the morning after hearing arguments from the counsel for Kejriwal and Gadkari on the issue of filing of undertaking and not furnishing bond to secure bail.
Kejriwal said he was ready to give an undertaking that he will appear before the court but refused to furnish bail bond to secure bail. During the argument earlier in the day, the court asked if the AAP leader was looking for ‘some exceptional treatment’.
The magistrate observed, “I completely agree but why he (Kejriwal) will not furnish bail bond. What is the problem? There is a procedure and why should we follow different procedure in this case.
Kejriwal, who also argued in the court, told the judge that he has not committed any heinous crime and added that he was not looking for any exceptional treatment. “This is my principle that when I have not done anything wrong, I will not seek bail. I am ready to go to jail,” he said.
Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Rahul Mehra, who appeared for Kejriwal, told the magistrate that these cases are of political nature and as per the principle of AAP, they will not furnish bail bond. Bhushan also argued that there was no possibility that Kejriwal would tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses and filing of undertaking was correct.
Image: Arvind Kejriwal being led away from the court towards Tihar jail. Photograph: ANI's Twitter page