Turning down the Delhi Police request, the Delhi Home Department has decided to comply with Home Minister Satyendar Jain’s decision — that no special public prosecutors be appointed in the Chief Secretary alleged assault case. The chargesheet filed by police in the case names Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and 11 AAP MLAs. Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly assaulted at the CM’s residence during a meeting on the intervening night of February 19-20.
Police had written to the government on August 21, seeking the appointment of three special public prosecutors in the high-profile case.
The Home Department had forwarded the request to Jain. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Manoj Parida had written to Jain, urging him to consider the police’s request due to the “seriousness” of the case. Prakash was then on leave.
On August 25, when the case had come up at Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal’s court, the public prosecutor did not show up. When the judge inquired about his absence, the Delhi Police had responded that they would need a Special Public Prosecutor in the case.
Subsequently, the legal cell of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Police Headquarters) wrote to the Home Department.
In his letter to Jain, Parida wrote that as Kejriwal and Sisodia are among the “accused” in the case, the regular public prosecutors who work under the elected government may find it “difficult” to handle the matter.
But Jain made his displeasure clear in two separate file notings. Then, senior officials had claimed that they were looking for other routes to accommodate the police’s request. Eventually, though, the “minister’s views seem to have prevailed”.
“The government refused to appoint special public prosecutors, and the home department is sticking to that. Once the minister made his objection, the home department could not do much. His order is being dutifully complied with as, unlike police and public order, the subject of prosecution comes under the elected government,” sources in the government said.
Earlier, Parida had written that Jain’s refusal to engage special public prosecutors may also be looked at from a coloured angle since he works under Kejriwal and bears part of “collective responsibility”.
Jain promptly dismissed the suggestion as “mischievous” and “false”.