Maliwal assault case: Court says Bibhav Kumar arrested, his anticipatory bail plea infructuous

Bibhav Kumar was arrested on Saturday, two days after an FIR was registered against him.
Bibhav Kumar
Bibhav Kumar

New Delhi | High drama unfolded in a court here on Saturday as it gave an urgent hearing to Bibhav Kumar's anticipatory bail plea with a public prosecutor informing it that the Arvind Kejriwal's aide has been arrested in the Swati Maliwal assault case.

Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Anuj Tyagi in Tis Hazari court, who had completed the hearing by 4.40 pm, said he was informed at 4.45 pm that the applicant had been arrested at 4.15 pm and therefore disposed of his petition as infructuous.

Hours before his arrest, Kumar had applied for an urgent hearing of his anticipatory bail plea which was permitted by the principal districts and sessions judge and was marked to Judge Tyagi.

After hearing the arguments by Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) A B Asthana and Kumar's counsel from 3:55 pm to 4:40 pm, the judge said, "At this stage, at about 4:45 pm, APP Atul Srivastava appeared through video conferencing and informed the court that the applicant has already been arrested."

"On court query, the additional public prosecutor for the state submitted that the applicant was arrested at about 4:15 pm," he added.

Objecting to the additional public prosecutor's submissions, Kumar's counsel Rajiv Mohan claimed that they were not informed about the arrest.

The court, however, said that according to Srivastava, Kumar's wife was "duly informed" about the arrest.

"Since the applicant (Kumar) has already been arrested, the present application is disposed of being infructuous," the court said.

Kumar was arrested on Saturday in connection with the alleged assault on AAP MP Swati Maliwal. Kumar was picked up from the chief minister's residence by a Delhi Police team, a day after Maliwal recorded her statement before a magistrate at the Tis Hazari court.

Earlier in the day, the court had reserved its order on the plea after one of Kumar's counsel, senior advocate N Hariharan, argued that his client was being quashed in a battle between political giants.

Countering Maliwal's allegations, the senior advocate said Kumar had no reason to "abuse" her and the CCTV footage belied her accusations.

Playing some video clips in the court, he said that Maliwal was seen "comfortably" seated and that she had reached Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, without an appointment. A pen drive containing the CCTV footage was also submitted to the judge, who viewed those.

"They (CM's staff) were only requesting her to leave as she did not have an appointment. But by that time, she already called the police. There was a security breach," the senior advocate said.

He also argued that Kumar could not "dare" to do anything to the Rajya Sabha MP and that it could be seen from a clip that she was also walking out comfortably from the place.

Police arrested Kejriwal's aide at same time his anticipatory bail plea was being heard: Atishi

New Delhi | Delhi Minister Atishi alleged on Saturday that the city police arrested Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar at the same time his anticipatory bail plea was being heard in court.

Kumar was arrested on Saturday in connection with the alleged assault on AAP Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal, officials said.

He was picked up from the chief minister's residence by a Delhi Police team around noon, a senior officer said.

Addressing a press conference, Atishi said Kumar had filed a plea for anticipatory bail before the Tis Hazari court.

Kumar was picked up for questioning by the Delhi Police around 11 am. As soon as he was taken for questioning, news channels started saying he had been arrested, she claimed.

"This shows the BJP's conspiracy. Their intention is to disturb our election campaign and Arvind Kejriwal," she said.

Atishi said the Tis Hazari court considered Kumar's matter urgent and agreed to hear his plea on Saturday itself.

"The court commenced hearing on his plea at 3:55 pm and within 20 minutes, the Delhi Police arrested him at the Civil Lines police station. As soon as his lawyers began arguments, the police learnt that their case is weak and Kumar would get relief. So they arrested Kumar," she claimed.

Atishi alleged that when the court was dictating its order on the matter at 4:55 pm, the Delhi Police lawyer appeared through videoconferencing and said Kumar had already been arrested.

Kumar's anticipatory bail plea has become "infructuous" as he has been arrested, the court observed.

The chief minister's aide, accused of assaulting Maliwal on May 13 at Kejriwal's residence, was arrested two days after an FIR was registered against him at the Civil Lines police station.

Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Anuj Tyagi, while dictating the order to the court staff on the anticipatory bail plea, noted that Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Kumar Srivastava appeared through videoconferencing around 4:45 pm and informed the court that Kumar had already been arrested.

Atishi said, "Even they knew that their case was weak and if the case was heard, Bibhav Kumar would get bail. That is why tomorrow (Sunday) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will lead all AAP leaders and to the BJP headquarters and court arrest."

Kejriwal said he and other AAP leaders would go to the BJP headquarters on Sunday "so that the prime minister can send anyone he wants to jail".

The BJP is saying they would send AAP MP Raghav Chadha and Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj to jail, he claimed at a press briefing, hours after Kumar was arrested.

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