Rail Bhavan protest: Court discharges CM Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI photo

A Delhi court has discharged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and AAP MLAs Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla in a case of allegedly violating prohibitory orders in the national capital and obstructing public servants during an agitation in 2014.

Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar passed the order on a plea by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators challenging a magisterial court's July 5 order by which charges were framed against them, paving the way for their trial.

The sessions court said there was not sufficient evidence to put them on trial.

In their applications filed by advocate Mohd Irshad, the AAP politicians had challenged the magisterial court's order saying that it had erred in framing charges against them.

The trial court had on July 5 framed charges against the accused persons, saying there was sufficient evidence to conclude that a prima facie case and "grave suspicion" was made out against them.

It had framed the charges after the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The charges were framed under section 143 and 145 (both related to unlawful assembly) and 188 (disobedience to an order by a public servant) of IPC, and under section 147 (rioting), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of IPC, read with section 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC.

The trial court, however, had discharged AAP leader Sanjay Singh and its former member Ashutosh, saying "there is no evidence on record against them regarding their participation in the aforementioned offences".

All the six accused were earlier granted bail by the court.

Kejriwal and other leaders had staged a 'dharna' outside Rail Bhavan demanding action against police officials who had refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi on January 20, 2014.

In its charge sheet, the police had claimed that on January 19, 2014 the Assistant Commissioner of Police had imposed prohibitory orders in North Block, South Block, Vijay Chowk areas near Rail Bhavan and Parliament Street. The AAP leaders assembled there the very next day, defying the prohibitory orders, it said.

The police alleged that on being told about the prohibitory orders, Kejriwal had said he would go to the Home Minister's office at North Block in his car and also laid a condition that media persons and his supporters would accompany him.

The charge sheet further claimed that Kejriwal, Sisodia and other AAP leaders along with 250-300 supporters defied the orders and started moving towards the Home Minister's office.

When the police officials present there tried to stop them with barricades, these leaders instigated their supporters and they manhandled policemen, it had alleged.

According to the police, Kejriwal and his supporters then sat on a 'dharna' at the chowk defying the prohibitory orders.

The charge sheet had said when Kejriwal and his supporters were stopped at the barricades at Rail Bhavan chowk, they raised slogans against the police, the central government and the Home Ministry and tried to move forward by manhandling the police officials present there. 

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