Swati Maliwal assault case: High Court reserves order on bail plea by Delhi CM Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar

Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta reserved verdict on the bail plea moved by Bibhav Kumar.

Updated - July 11, 2024 06:31 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2024 04:59 pm IST - New Delhi

Bibhav Kumar. File

Bibhav Kumar. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Delhi High Court on July 10 said it will pronounce order on July 12 on whether to grant bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar in the case pertaining to alleged assault on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Swati Maliwal.

Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta reserved verdict on the bail plea moved by Bibhav Kumar in relation to the case after hearing his counsel as well as the lawyers appearing for the Delhi Police and Swati Maliwal. "Order reserved. Keep for order on Friday," the judge said.

Senior counsel for the police opposed the bail plea, saying investigation is going on and a charge sheet would be filed on or before July 16.

"On or before July 16, we will file the charge sheet. We are in the midst of investigation," said senior advocate Sanjay Jain representing the police. Ms. Maliwal was also present in the court and said she has been subjected to threats, trolling and victim shaming since the incident. "Not only was I brutally assaulted, my entire life's work has been taken away," she said.

Ms. Maliwal said post the incident, several Ministers of her own party, as well as the Chief Minister, came out in support of the accused as they claimed that she has “filed a false case”.

Mr. Kumar's senior lawyer argued that his custody was no longer required as the probe was over. "He has entered day 54th in custody. All necessary investigation is complete. This amounts to pe-trial punishment," said the lawyer.

It was also contended that there was no reason as to why the Chief Minister's political secretary would assault a Member of Parliament.

"It is highly unimaginable that without any cause, the political secretary will choose to beat her up... (the reason behind the FIR) that I can manage to think is that it is a question of ego," he said.

Mr. Kumar's lawyer also emphasised that no offence under Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) was made out and no notice was given by the police before arresting him.

"Case under Section 308 is not made out. There are two bruises — one of cheek and one of thigh... Nature of the complaint belies natural conduct," it was submitted. The police said there was an apprehension that the petitioner could influence the investigation and tamper with evidence. The court was also assured that Mr. Kumar was arrested in due compliance with all the laws.

Mr. Kumar, presently in judicial custody, allegedly assaulted Ms. Maliwal on May 13 at Mr. Kejriwal's official residence. He was arrested on May 18.

An FIR was registered against Mr. Kumar on May 16 under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to criminal intimidation, assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to disrobe, and attempt to commit culpable homicide.

The Tis Hazari court had on June 7 refused to grant bail to Mr. Kumar, saying he was facing "grave and serious" charges and that there was an apprehension that he could influence witnesses.

Mr. Kumar's first bail plea was dismissed on May 27 by another sessions court which said there appeared to be no "pre-meditation" by Ms. Maliwal in lodging the FIR and that her allegations could not be "swiped away".

The petition has said the present instance was a "classic case" of abuse of criminal machinery as although both Kumar and Ms. Maliwal lodged complaints against each other, only her matter was being investigated.

"The complainant is an influential person being the Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and no investigation is being done on the part of complaint given by the petitioner regarding breach by the complainant is demonstrated by the Breach Report prepared at the date of incident by the Officials deputed at the CM Camp Office," the plea said.

"The entire allegations, as levelled by the complainant are not only unbelievable/unnatural, but clearly depict the falsity in the same. The complainant realised that her act of misbehaviour/misconduct/trespass had been recorded in CCTV cameras and further the pressure and threats are of no help for meeting with the Hon’ble Chief Minister, accordingly she left the premises by threatening the complainant and the staff members of dire consequences," it alleged.

Another Bench of the high court has reserved its verdict on Mr. Kumar's petition challenging his arrest.

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