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The controversy over Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators allegedly assaulting Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash took a more political turn on Wednesday when the AAP alleged that its Muslim and Dalit legislators have been targeted and arrested.
AAP legislators Amantullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, arrested for alleged assault on Prakash, were today sent in judicial custody for one day. The court is scheduled to hear their bail pleas on Thursday. Delhi Police had demanded that they be sent in police custody for interrogation, which the court rejected.
Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon directed the concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police to personally monitor the case as it is "highly sensitive".
The court refused the plea of the Delhi Police to interrogate them in custody for two days, saying that the legislators were ready to cooperate and join the investigation.
In its order, the court recorded the submission of the defence counsel for the legislators that the medical examination (MLC) of Prakash, which showed injury marks, to have been conducted after registration of the FIR. The defence counsel termed the medical report a political gimmick.
Meanwhile, bureaucrats, including top IAS and DANICS officers, continued to demand action against AAP legislators and sought an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind. The entire controversy comes in the wake of bypolls of 20-assembly seats slated in the weeks to come.
In the court, the defence counsel also argued that the CCTV footage from the night of February 19, when the alleged manhandling of Prakash took place at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's residence, reveals that the Chief Secretary's vehicle entered and left the premises within 7 minutes and 8 seconds.
In his complaint, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was sitting on a sofa flanked by Khan and another AAP MLA during the February 19-night meeting, and without provocation, the two legislators "started hitting and assaulting" him "with blows on head and temple". The AAP has denied these allegations.
Amanatullah Khan alleged that the chief secretary was acting at the behest of the BJP and "the incident is a pretext to dismiss the AAP government" and the police was working under pressure of the Union Home Minister.
Prakash, on the other hand, claimed that he was questioned about the AAP government's media publicity during the meeting, while the AAP functionaries said he was called to discuss complaints on ration distribution and delinking of Aadhaar with ration distribution.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the Delhi Police is yet to take action in another case of assault against Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain and Delhi Dialogue Commission's vice-chairman Ashish Khetan at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesdsy, despite they providing a video evidence of the attack.'