No judicial custody for Kejriwal, others

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 05, 2013 18:38 hrs

A Delhi court on Tuesday said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal and other members of the party will not be arrested in a case related their protest before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's house over the coal scam last year, as they agreed to attend future hearings of the case.

The case will be next heard on Feb 23.

Kejriwal and other members of the party were summoned to appear in court on Tuesday for the case that accused them of defying police orders in protesting before the Prime Minister´s house here in August last year.

Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodia appeared before the court.

Kejriwal and other members of his political party earlier in the day said they would prefer going behind the bars than asking for bail in the case.

"If they ask for jail or bail, we will go to jail," said Kejriwal.

He said, "The government is acting as if we are the one who stole the coal. No one has been taken to task so far in the coal scam."

The co-founder of the party, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan told reporters at court Tuesday morning, "We will prefer jail to bail. The protest in August was peaceful and the police has wrongly accused us of inciting violence. This has become a political tool... the court can see the video and decide today whether charges levelled against us are fair."

"We protested against Coal scam. Govt has filed a case against us. Recd court summons to appear tomo," Kejriwal tweeted Monday night.

"The government has slapped several charges against us. All false. We will confess violating section 144 and would invite punishment. Rest charges are bogus," he added.

"It wud [would] be interesting. Those who stole India´s coal roaming free. Those who protested against the theft, wud [would] they be in jail?," remarked Kejriwal via Twitter.

In August last year, Kejriwal and his aides demonstrated a protest leading to Manmohan Singh´s residence demanding his resignation over an alleged coal scam, called ´Coalgate scam´.

The protest was the result of the report by the government´s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that said the country lost upto Rs 1.856 lakh crores since coal fields were allotted to private firms without adequate transparency.

It was also reported that the Prime Minister held direct charge of the Coal Ministry for the period in question.

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