Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia approached the Delhi High Court Tuesday challenging a trial court’s order directing that prosecution in the Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash assault case be conducted by an officer of Delhi Police not below the rank of ACP.
Kejriwal and Sisodia, who have been summoned as accused in the assault case, also challenged the order permitting two advocates to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the officer of Delhi Police, instead of regular public prosecutor.
The trial court had on October 22 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 plea of Kejriwal and Sisodia was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and V K Rao in the post-lunch session which allowed it to listed for hearing before the concerned bench on November 22.
The plea has been listed for hearing before Justice Najmi Waziri.
The criminal case relates to alleged assault on Prakash during a meeting at Kejriwal’s official residence on February 19.
Prakash was recently transferred and will now be the Additional Secretary in the Department of Telecom.
The plea in the high court sought direction to set aside the order of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) and that the prosecution in the case be allowed to 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.
The plea has arrayed as parties Delhi government through standing counsel (Delhi Police) and Anshu Prakash.
The trial court, in its October 22 order, had also asked the investigating agency to supply the copies of charge sheet and documents to the officer appointed so that he could conduct the prosecution.
“Further, Siddharth Aggarwal and V Madhukar Advocates are permitted to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the officer of Delhi Police so appointed in this regard,” it said.
The ACMM had said let the Delhi Police Commissioner assign the prosecution of this case to some officer not below the rank of Additional Commissioner of Police.
Prakash had told the trial court that the Delhi Police had nominated three well reputed and experienced counsel for appointment as Special Public Prosecutors and their consents had also been obtained.
Despite recommendation by the officers of the Home Department, the request of the Delhi Police was rejected by the Home Minister, GNCTD on grounds that the case did not disclose any special features, he had said.
The plea was opposed by the Delhi Police in the trial court claiming that the complainant (Prakash) has not shown any “actual bias” but only an unfounded apprehension of bias and the other cases of similar accused persons have been conducted regular prosecutors and no bias has been reported.
On October 25, 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.