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Delhi Chief Secy Assault Case: HC Allows Trial Court Arguments on Framing Charges Against Kejriwal, Others

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The high court allowed an application by then chief secretary Anshu Prakash and modified its March 14, 2019 order by which the trial court was directed not to hear arguments on the charges.

The Delhi High Court Monday permitted a trial court to hear arguments on framing of charges in the then chief secretary assault case in which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia were made accused.

The high court allowed an application by then chief secretary Anshu Prakash and modified its March 14, 2019 order by which the trial court was directed not to hear arguments on the charges.

"As far as the March 14, 2019 order is concerned, the same is modified to the extent that the trial court can proceed and hear the matter at the stage of arguments on charge," Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.

Prakash has also sought a direction for an early hearing of the petition filed before the high court by Kejriwal and Sisodia challenging the trial court's order that prosecution in the case be conducted by a Delhi Police officer not below the rank of Additional Commissioner.

The two AAP leaders had also challenged the trial court's October 22, 2018 order permitting two other advocates to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the officer of Delhi Police, instead of a regular public prosecutor attached to the court concerned.

The high court, however, noted that the petition is listed for hearing on November 2 and it was not feasible to hear it at an earlier date.

During the hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Prakash, said in order to save time, he had no objection if the arguments on charges are heard and the case is prosecuted by the regular public prosecutor. Senior advocates Dayan Krishnan and N Hariharan, appearing for Kejriwal and Sisodia, also said they do not have any problem on regular prosecutor conducting the case before the trial court.

The high court on November 22, 2018, issued notice and sought responses of Delhi government, police and Prakash on the two AAP leaders' petition challenging the trial court's order.

The trial court had on October 22, 2018 allowed the plea of Prakash seeking direction to conduct the prosecution through the counsel nominated by the Delhi Police and not through lawyers empanelled by the AAP government.

The criminal case relates to alleged assault on Prakash during a meeting at Kejriwal's official residence on February 19, 2018. Prakash was later transferred and is now the Additional Secretary in the Department of Telecom.

The plea in the high court has sought setting aside of the order of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) and also requested that the prosecution in the case be conducted by the public prosecutor before the trial court. "The impugned order is otherwise based on conjunctures and surmises and is liable to be set aside," the petition claimed.

On October 25, 2018, Kejriwal, Sisodia and nine other AAP MLAs were granted bail by the trial court in the assault case. The other two MLAs, Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, who are also accused were earlier arrested in the case and granted bail by the high court.

The alleged assault had triggered a bitter tussle between the Delhi government and its bureaucrats.

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