A court here on Thursday granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in a criminal defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against them in the wake of the DDCA controversy.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass granted bail to Kejriwal as well as Aam Aadmi Party leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee after they appeared in the court following last month's summons."The offence being bailable, all accused persons are admitted to bail," the court said.The court asked each of them to furnish a personal bond of Rs.20,000 and surety of a like amount.
While the chief minister's adviser Gopal Mohan stood surety for him, Delhi's Food and Supplies Minister Imran Hussain furnished surety for Ashutosh.Uttam Nagar legislator Naresh Balyan stood surety for Sanjay Singh, Laxmi Nagar legislator Nitin Tyagi for Vishwas, Burari lawmaker Sanjeev Jha for Chadha, and Mehrauli legislator Naresh Yadav stood surety for Bajpayee.Jaitley, who filed the complaint against Kejriwal and the others, was present in the court.After Kejriwal's counsel R.K. Wadhwa and C.L. Gupta told court that they have not been supplied with copies of the documents pertaining to the complaint, the court directed Jaitley to do so. It then fixed May 19 for the next hearing.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh told the media outside the court that there was nothing defamatory in what they had said. But the BJP asked Kejriwal to be prepared to go to jail if found guilty.Security at the Patiala House Court was beefed up since Thursday morning in view of the hearing.The entry to courtroom no.4, where the case was scheduled, was restricted after lunch.Only the accused, those giving sureties, complainant Jaitley, lawyers appearing in the matter, and six journalists were allowed to enter the courtroom.Slogan-shouting supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party scuffled outside gate no.2 of the court complex.
Jaitley had told the court on January 5 that the AAP leaders had given "false and defamatory" statements in a case involving the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), thereby harming his reputation.He said the AAP leaders made the statements with a view to deflect public attention from a Central Bureau of Investigation probe against a civil servant working with Kejriwal.Jaitley urged the court to initiate proceedings against Kejriwal and others on the charge of defaming him.The AAP leaders had alleged corruption in the DDCA, which Jaitley headed for 13 years until 2013. Jaitley has denied the allegations.
Delhi BJP leader Praveen Shankar Kapoor said Kejriwal should be ready to go to jail if found guilty."When you (Kejriwal) indulge in such thing (defaming someone) so you should be ready for bail and jail both. It is good that Kejriwal is abiding by the judicial process. If court finds him guilty he should be prepared to go to jail as well," Kapoor told IANS. Congress leader Ajay Maken said: "It is a matter of court so I will not comment but it seems there is a tacit understanding between Kejriwal and the BJP."