Arvind Kejriwal Aide Sent To Police Custody For 5 Days In Swati Maliwal Case

Mr Kumar’s lawyer questioned the delay in filing the case.

New Delhi:

In a late-night hearing on Saturday, a Delhi court has sent Bibhav Kumar, the personal assistant to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, to police custody for five days. 

Mr Kumar was arrested earlier in the day for allegedly assaulting AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal at the chief minister’s residence on Monday. Ms Maliwal had alleged Mr Kumar had kicked her in the chest, stomach and pelvic area and had brutally “dragged her and pulled her shirt up”.

The Delhi Police, which presented Mr Kumar before the Tis Hazari court and sought his custody for seven days, said the Rajya Sabha MP was badly beaten, the buttons of her top were open and that they have got some CCTV footage from the chief minister’s residence.

The police said they asked for the phone password of Mr Kumar, who had been working with the chief minister since 2015, but it was not given to them. Alleging that the official had destroyed evidence, they said the cellphone was formatted in Mumbai and he had claimed he had done so because it had hung. 

Laying out the reasons for seeking his custody, the police said he would be taken to Mumbai and an expert would also be needed to unlock the phone, which is not possible without his presence. Custodial interrogation is also required to find out the reasons for assaulting the MP, they argued. 

‘Why The Delay?’

Bibhav Kumar’s lawyer, Rajiv Mohan, pointed out that the alleged incident took place on Monday and the first information report was lodged on Thursday. No reason was given for the delay, he stressed. 

Speaking about the day’s events, Mr Mohan said Ms Maliwal had gone not to the chief minister’s office but to his residence without anybody asking her to do so. The time at which she went is also not the official time to meet anyone, he said. 

“You (Ms Maliwal) are saying that you used to go there like this, but there is no record of it. What was her purpose for going to the chief minister’s residence that day? It is not clear,” Mr Mohan told the court.  

Referring to Mr Kejriwal being on interim bail in the liquor scam case till June 2, the lawyer said  the chief minister is busy since it is election time and has been given a limited number of days by the Supreme Court. 

He said Ms Maliwal went and sat on a sofa in the drawing room and had the option of going back if she could not meet the chief minister.

“A video of her coming out of the chief minister’s residence is being circulated in the media, in which she is wearing a kurti and not a shirt. Talk of her buttons being open is not correct and neither is talk of her head banging against the central table,” Mr Mohan said. 

Accusing the Delhi Police of distorting the facts, Mr Mohan asked why the AAP leader had not filed an FIR when she had called a police helpline, 112, from the residence itself. He said she must have got a response in the posh area but did not ask for any medical help.

The lawyer said that Ms Maliwal met the Station House Officer of the Civil Lines Police Station and asked why the officer had not made a medical sheet if there was a grievous injury. He also questioned why she didn’t register a complaint at the police station. 

‘Entered Without Permission’

“You entered there (the chief minister’s residence) without permission, this is a crime. The section officer of the security staff had given a report in this regard on the same day,” he said. 

The lawyer added that the Supreme Court has ruled that no one can be pressured to share their phone’s password and also informed the court that there was no CCTV camera in the drawing room.

Earlier in the day, the Tis Hazari court had rejected Mr Kumar’s anticipatory bail stating that it was infructuous since had already been arrested.  

On this, Advocate Shadan Farasat said Mr Kumar was arrested when the anticipatory bail petition was being heard so that it became ineffective. He said the official was not told the grounds for his arrest either. 

Earlier Accusation

Responding to these arguments, the lawyer appearing for the police addressed the issue of the delay in filing an FIR and said Ms Maliwal was disturbed that an old acquaintance of hers had assaulted her. On the bail issue, the lawyer said there is no judgment that stops the police from effecting an arrest when an anticipatory bail hearing is on.

Referring to the video brought up by the defence, the lawyer said it was given to the media and not to the police and pointed out that Mr Kumar had earlier been accused of threatening a government official in Noida as well.