13 AAP MLAs booked in two years, Delhi Police face court rap over arrests

An HT investigation into the court papers of the cases against the 13 AAP legislators shows that the police are struggling to explain the charges in most cases, earning courts’ ire for shoddy investigation.
AAP MLA Gulab Singh (L) was arrested on charges of extortion from Gujarat.(HT File Photo)
AAP MLA Gulab Singh (L) was arrested on charges of extortion from Gujarat.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Mar 05, 2017 10:11 PM IST
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New Delhi | ByPrawesh Lama and Heena Kausar

The Delhi Police arrested 13 MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in the last two years on charges ranging from rape, extortion, cheating, forgery to rioting.

For most of these offences bail is hard to come by, but all the 13 lawmakers are out on bail. In fact, two have been cleared of all charges.

Barring Sandeep Kumar, who is accused of rape, and Jitender Tomar, who faces charges of forging his college and law degrees, all others got bail in their first or second court appearance. They got bail after spending a few weeks in jail.

An HT investigation into the court papers of the cases against the 13 MLAs shows that the police are struggling to explain the charges in most cases, earning courts’ ire for shoddy investigation.

Take the case of Narela MLA Sharad Chauhan, accused of abetting suicide of a woman AAP volunteer. “It is noteworthy that the name of applicant (Chauhan) is nowhere stated by the deceased in her last statement,” the court said, giving bail to Chauhan.

It was also critical of police for misinterpreting the words “AML” — mentioned in one of the text messages sent by woman — to mean the MLA.

Police faced a tough time in the case of Matiala MLA Gulab Singh as well. He was arrested on October 16 on charges of extortion from Gujarat on a day he was to address a rally in the western state.

He was immediately given bail. The court pulled up police for waiting to arrest him on the day he was to speak at a rally and for rushing to Gujarat for reasons “best known to them”.

Police were “trying to spin beans beyond the basket”, the court said.

AAP has often accused the Delhi Police, which reports to the union home ministry, of harassment and acting at the behest of the Modi government, a charge denied by the force.

It described the arrests as “political conspiracy” to destabilise the Kejriwal government.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal repeated the accusations last week after the CBI opened a probe against deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyendar Jain’s daughter on corruption charges.

Granting bail to Akhilesh Tripathi in a case if sexual harassment and molestation, the court said the complainant’s statement was self-contradictory and cross-examination had discredited her testimony.

Senior AAP leader Dilip Pandey said instead of focusing on the law and order, the Delhi Police were busy targeting AAP MLAs.

“The NDA government has not been able to accept the defeat in Delhi elections. Because of its ego and political frustration, it is not letting the Delhi government work,” Pandey said.

Delhi Police officers were not willing to come on record. “There should not be an iota of doubt against the police. The complainants in the case are not police. Whenever any cases comes to us, we examine it legally and process as per established procedure,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.

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