A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five others in a criminal defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The court granted bail to Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee.
All six had been summoned in March to appear before the court on 7 April.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the AAP leaders arrived at the court at 2.30 pm. Heavy security arrangements were made to prevent a clash between BJP and AAP supporters present at the hearing.
supplied all the documents of the case after which senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for Jaitley, said
that they would provide entire sets of documents to the defence counsel.Initially, the court granted bail to the accused on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 each with one surety of the like amount but one of the defence counsel told the court that they have brought fixed depsit receipts (FDRs) of Rs 20,000. Hearing this submission, the court reduced the amount from Rs 25,000 to Rs 20,000 and fixed the matter for arguments on framing of notice under section 251 of the CrPC for 19 May.While in this case, Kejriwal furnished the bail bond immediately, Earlier, in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, Kejriwal had refused to furnish a bail bond, after which the magistrate hearing the case remanded him to judicial custody.Before the commencement of the hearing, supporters of BJP and AAP gathered outside gate number 2 of the Patiala House Court complex and shouted slogans against each other.
Only the accused, those giving sureties, Jaitley and lawyers appearing in the matter along with six journalists were allowed to enter the court room.
According to an earlier report by Firstpost, Jaitley had filed a Rs 10-crore civil defamation suit against Kejriwal because of AAP's allegations of corruption in the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA). On 21 December, 2015, the Union Finance Minister filed a criminal defamation complaint against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders and sought their prosecution for offences that could entail a punishment of up to two years in jail.
In his complaint, Jaitley had said the chief minister and other AAP leaders, with common intention, have from 15 December, 2015, undertaken "a false, malicious and defamatory campaign against him and his family members for political mileage causing irreversible damage to him".
The complaint had referred to certain allegations made by AAP leaders in press conferences, including one claiming that the CBI had raided the office of a Delhi government officer looking for Jaitley's "tax scam files" and there was corruption worth several hundred crores during his tenure and that he had shielded DDCA for over 15 years.
Jaitley had said such statements have been made orally and through Twitter handle of the AAP leaders, which were carried by the media from 15 to 20 December last year.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, this is the third such case against Kejriwal and second by a member of the ruling BJP. Kejriwal also faces a defamation case filed against him by Nitin Gadkari and another one by advocate Amit Sibal, son of Kapil Sibal, the ex-minister of communications and information technology.
With inputs from PTI