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Assault on Delhi chief secretary: Court dismisses police plea for custodial interrogation of AAP MLAs

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Wednesday got a jolt with a court here rejecting its plea for custodial interrogation of AAP MLAs Amantullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, arrested in connection with the "highly sensitive" case of alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.

The two MLAs were sent to judicial custody in Tihar Jail till Thursday, when the court would hear their bail pleas, as the police sought time to reply to them.

File image of Delhi police. AFP

File image of Delhi police. AFP

The court said the ground for judicial custody are justified as there are numerous cases against the accused MLAs.

Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon directed the concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police to personally monitor the case as it is "highly sensitive".

The court refused the plea of the Delhi Police to quiz them in custody for two days, saying that the legislators were ready to cooperate and join the investigation.

In its order, the court recorded the submission of the defence counsel that medical examination (MLC) was conducted on Prakash after the lodging of the FIR and nothing was to be recovered from the MLAs. It also noted that the MLAs were ready to cooperate and join investigation whenever required.

“It was submitted that MLC (of Prakash) was conducted after registration of FIR and nothing has to be recovered from the accused. They have submitted it is a political gimmick. The police custody application is dismissed,” the court said.

The development came as a setback to the bureaucrats as, earlier in the day, top officers from IAS and DANICS cadres sought an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking action against those involved in the alleged attack on the chief secretary.

Yesterday, a delegation of IAS and Delhi and Andaman Nicobar Island Civil Services (DANICS) officers met Home Rajnath Singh and apprised him of the situation in Delhi.

The two MLAs were produced before the court amid tight security as a large number of AAP workers and lawyers were also present there.

While Jarwal, an MLA from Deoli, was arrested on Wednesday night, party legislator from Jamia Nagar, Khan, was taken into custody this afternoon.

The two have been arrested in connection with the alleged assault on the bureaucrat during a meeting at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence on the night of February 19.

During the hearing, public prosecutor Atul Srivastava sought two days police custody of both the MLAs saying they had committed a serious crime of assaulting and humiliating the senior-most officer of the state.

Due to this, the officer has sustained serious injuries and the medical examination report has also been submitted in this regard, he said.

He said a total of 11 persons were involved in the incident and the two MLAs have to be confronted with other accused to unearth the larger conspiracy. The role of the other accused, who are yet to be arrested, also needed to be ascertained, the prosecutor said.

He also alleged that it was a serious case of assault and both the MLAs were not cooperating in the probe.

Srivastava claimed that Anshu Prakash was intimidated by the accused and none of the MLAs present there came forward to save him.

Advocate B S Joon, appearing for both the MLAs, opposed the application for police custody and said they were ready to cooperate in the probe. He said the charge of assaulting public servant was invoked in the FIR without conducting the MLC of the bureaucrat.

Both of them are public representatives and not hardened criminals, Joon said, adding “this is a fallout of power struggle between the Centre and the NCT of Delhi.”

He further submitted that as per the footage of the CCTV installed at the chief minister’s house, the chief secretary’s vehicle entered and exited within 7 minutes and 8 seconds.

In his complaint, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash had alleged that he was sitting on a sofa flanked by Khan and another AAP MLA during the 19 February night meeting, and without provocation, the two legislators "started hitting and assaulting" him "with blows on head and temple". The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has denied the allegations.

A case has been registered at Civil Lines Police Station in north Delhi on the complaint filed by the chief secretary.

Khan alleged that the chief secretary was acting at the behest of the BJP and "the incident is a pretext to dismiss the AAP government" and the police was working under pressure of the Union Home Minister.

Prakash, on the other hand, claimed that he was questioned about the AAP government's media publicity during the meeting, while the AAP functionaries said he was called to discuss complaints on ration distribution.

The chief secretary in his complaint alleged that the assault was "premeditated" and a "conspiracy" of all those present. Police have filed the FIR including the charge of criminal conspiracy in it.


Updated Date: Feb 21, 2018 18:45 PM

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