CHIEF SECRETARY ASSAULT CASE: DELHI COURT HANDS CLEAN CHIT TO CM KEJRIWAL, SISODIA AND OTHERS

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“There is no illegality:” In the Chief Secretary assault case, a Delhi court affirms Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia’s discharge

KEY HIGHKIGHTS

•           The case is related to an alleged assault on Prakash during a meeting at Kejriwal’s official residence on February 19, 2018.

•           The meeting was kept in the drawing-room of the CM, where there were no CCTV cameras: Anshu Prakash’s lawyer.

•           The CM, Dy CM and other MLAs are making Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal scapegoats: Prakash’s lawyer.

Former Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash’s petition challenging Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and nine other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs’ clean chit in the case relating to an alleged assault on a bureaucrat at the CM residence in 2018 was dismissed by a Delhi sessions court. Prakash claimed in court on March 30 that Kejriwal and Sisodia were the “kingpins” of a plan that led to his assault.

The ruling of ACMM Sachin Gupta was maintained by Special CBI Judge Geetanjali Goel, who stated that the revision plea was without merit.

“Arvind Kejriwal (A-3), Manish Sisodia (A-4), Rajesh Rishi (A-5), Nitin Tyagi (A-6), Praveen Kumar (A-7), and Ajay Dutt were correctly discharged by the Trial Court.”

“There is no defect, illegality, perversity, or impropriety in the order entered by the trial court, which was entered after careful consideration of the evidence on record,” the Court concluded.

While deciding a revision plea, Special Judge Geetanjli Goel noted that the trial court had considered the accusations and, after finding them to be without merit, discharged all of them while recording its reasons.

“There is no defect, illegality, perversity, or impropriety in the order entered by the trial court, which was entered after careful consideration of the facts on record, including witness statements,” the Court said.The Court stated that “settled law” dictated that at the time of charge drafting, the court must only consider whether there was a strong suspicion of the accused committing an offence, rather than whether the evidence on file would lead to a conviction.

At the stage of framing of charge, the court is required to evaluate the material and documents only to the extent and with a view to finding out if the facts taken on their face value disclosed the existence of a prima facie case,” it added.

He claimed that the trial court had wrongfully freed 11 accused defendants from all counts, while only charging Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal for specific offences.

The trial court, it was alleged, did not investigate all of the witnesses’ claims and thereby committed a “miscarriage of justice” by “virtually not believing” his account.

The alleged assault on Prakash, according to the prosecution, was a “unfortunate and disgraceful” episode in which a senior officer was illegally intimidated and beaten. The alleged assault allegedly occurred at the CM’s residence, when the 11 MLAs were meeting with Anshu Prakash.

Judge Goel, on the other hand, found that the petitioner had provided no grounds for either interfering with the order or challenging it.

The Delhi police had charged Kejriwal, Sisodia and others under Sections 186, 323, 332, 342, 353, 504, 506(ii), 120B, 109, 114, 149, 34 and 36 of the Indian Penal Code after they allegedly manhandled Prakash, who was then the Chief Secretary of Delhi.

The other lawmakers against whom charges were invoked included Amanatullah Khan, Prakash Jarwal, Nitin Tyagi, Rituraj Govind, Sanjeev Jha, Ajay Dutt, Rajesh Rishi, Rajesh Gupta, Madan Lal, Parveen Kumar and Dinesh Mohania.

On August 11, 2021, a magistrate court had discharged all except MLAs Amantullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal in the matter.

The case stems from an alleged assault on Prakash on February 19, 2018, during a meeting at Kejriwal’s official house. The incident sparked a fierce feud between Delhi’s leadership and the bureaucracy. During the case’s hearing, Prakash’s lawyer contended that the trial court made an error in its decision and that the Delhi government refused to enable the police to file a revision appeal against the ruling despite the force’s written request.


Published By: Sandipan Dutta

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Nivedita Harsh
Nivedita Harsh
Nivedita Harsh is an advocate and a defense attorney by profession., a lover of books, and a writer by passion. Completed her Law degree in 2021 and working as an advocate at the Rajasthan High Court since. When you don’t find her buried in paperwork and legal notices, you might find her reading one of Agatha Christie's compelling works of fiction, holding a nice cup (jar) of iced coffee. Or annoying her white fluffer pup. Nivedita writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to cope with infinite amout of legal paperwork

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