Delhi

Delhi HC allows Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for witness statement in ex-Chief Secretary assault case

Anshu Prakash, former Chief Secretary of Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

New Delhi

In a major boost to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders in the former Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash alleged assault case, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed a trial court here to also consider the statement of a former advisor to the Chief Minister who was present at the 2018 meeting pertaining to the case.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait directed the trial court here, which is seized of the case, to consider the statement of V.K. Jain at the time of passing the order.

The High Court’s order came with a stern message to the police that it was their duty “to do free and fair investigation by bringing to the notice of the court all the evidences collected during the investigation without picking and choosing the one which does not support them”.

“The accused has been provided with a definite right under the provisions of Cr.P.C. (Code of Criminal Procedure) and the constitutional mandate to face the charge against him by a fair investigation and trial,” the High Court said.

Also read: Proceed with hearing in Chief Secy assault case: HC

Mr. Kejriwal, in his plea, had alleged the prosecution of withholding the statement of witness Mr. Jain recorded on February 21, 2018, because it did not suit the prosecution case and helped in falsely implicating him, his Deputy Manish Sisodia and other AAP leaders including Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan.

Mr. Jain, in the 2018 statement, which was reproduced in the judgment, stated that on the night of February 19, there was a meeting that took place between the AAP leaders and Mr. Prakash on the issue of ‘Door Step Delivery of Ration’, ‘Advertisement Funds Release’ and slow processing of files.

Also read: Delhi Chief Secretary 'assault' case

During the meeting, Mr. Jain stated that he went to the washroom and upon returning saw former Chief Secretary Prakash leaving. Mr. Jain stated that he could not say anything about what transpired while he was in the washroom.

The trial court had in its order, which was contested by the AAP leaders, noted that since it was a record of oral examination of Mr. Jain by the Investigating Officer (IO) and was noted in the ‘Case Diary’, the said examination did not take the place of a statement made under Section 161 Cr.P.C (Examination of witnesses by police). It had declined to supply this “crucial document” to the AAP leaders.

Justice Kait, however, observed that if a situation arose wherein an accused sought documents which supported his case and do not support the prosecution and the IO ignored these documents and forwarded only those documents which favoured the prosecution, in such a scenario, it would be the duty of the IO to make such documents available to the accused.

“The investigating agency has no power to appreciate the evidence, it rests with the court,” Justice Kait remarked.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 3:37:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-hc-allows-arvind-kejriwals-plea-for-witness-statement-in-ex-chief-secretary-assault-case/article32907560.ece

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