New Delhi, May 21 (PTI): Arvind Kejriwal was today arrested and sent to Tihar jail till May 23 by a Delhi court after he refused to furnish bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
The refusal to furnish the Rs 10,000 bail bond coincided with a decision by Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party to give up efforts to form a government.
Kejriwal admitted that chances of returning to power in the current situation were “negligible” and apologised for quitting as Delhi chief minister within 49 days.
Kejriwal termed as “biggest mistake” the decision to resign without consulting the public and said the AAP would hold meetings across the city to apologise for quitting the government. He also appealed to the people to give clear majority to AAP in the next assembly polls.
In the court, Kejriwal repeatedly refused to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount.
“Take him into custody,” metropolitan magistrate Gomati Manocha then ordered.
The magistrate said: “In these circumstances, as the accused has refused to furnish bail bond or even personal bond without surety, this court is constrained to take the accused into custody. Let the accused be sent to judicial custody and be produced before the court on May 23.”
Kejriwal was summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader who had included his name in the party’s list of “India’s most corrupt”.
Kejriwal was later taken to the same Tihar jail cell where his mentor Anna Hazare was kept after his arrest during the Lokpal movement in 2011. Kejriwal will stay alone in jail number four here, where he will sleep on the floor and will be served routine jail food.
There is no television in the ward but Kejriwal will get newspapers to read in his cell.
The AAP termed the decision of the court to send Kejriwal to jail as “erroneous” and said there was no provision in the law, which makes it mandatory for a defendant in a defamation case to furnish a bail bond when he is willing to remain present for hearing.
“It is surprising that the court decided to send Kejriwal to judicial custody despite his lawyers expressing readiness to submit an undertaking that he will be present in the court during each date of hearing,” an AAP statement said.