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What the law says and what is the possibility of Kejriwal governing from jail: Legal experts speak



New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) The inescapable hold of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as it took the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal into custody on Thursday evening, has left the curious lot with a number of questions answered about the AAP supremo’s arrest and what comes next.

Kejriwal, who now stands to be the first sitting Chief Minister arrested from the Opposition INDIA bloc, was questioned at his official residence for more than two hours in connection with the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam before he was taken to the probe agency’s office on A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road at 11 p.m. on Thursday.

The Chief Minister will remain in the ED jail on Thursday night before he will be produced before the Rouse Avenue Court on Friday after a medical examination.

It is highly likely that the federal agency will seek for Kejriwal’s remand from the court to question him in the case.

Notably, Kejriwal’s name in the matter came up for the first time in the remand application filed by the ED against the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha while she was presented in the court on March 16.

It is also important to know that, so far, Kejriwal remains the biggest name to be arrested in the alleged scam, after K. Kavitha, former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, among others.

Well, going back to question one that is if Kejriwal will run the government from behind the jail or will he resign, let’s look at what happened when recently Jharkhand’s leader Hemant Soren and years ago various former Chief Ministers like Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, Bihar’s Lalu Prasad, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu, Haryana’s Om Prakash Chautala and Jharkhand’s Madhu Koda were arrested.

Rashtriya Janata Dal National President, Lalu Prasad, was convicted in the fodder scam in 2013 along with former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra. He and his son Tejashwi Yadav are currently being probed in a land-for-jobs case. Lalu was the Chief Minister of Bihar twice between 1990 and 1997.

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Jayalalithaa, who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu several times between 1991 and 2016, was arrested in a corruption case in 1996. She was convicted and jailed in 2014.

What the legal experts are saying:

“As per the law, Arvind Kejriwal does not need to resign from his post as Delhi Chief Minister. There is no provision in the law by which he can be forced to resign. Resignation can be a moral decision of a sitting Chief Minister. He can also run his government from jail as Chief Minister. He can hold meetings of the cabinet and sign files by taking prior approval from the court as per the jail manual,” Advocate Vineet Jindal told IANS.

Of course, running the government from inside the jail sounds absolutely unreal and to back this thought, Advocate Rudra Vikram Singh told us that though the Chief Minister is only an accused at this stage and can’t be barred from running the government from inside the jail, technically, it will be very tough as he has to follow the rules of jail and as per the rules, he cannot be available every time for the meetings, to sign the files.

“Some specific time may be allowed to him to do all these work,” he said.

Whether a Chief Minister can run a state government from jail largely depends on the legal provisions and constitutional norms of the specific country or state.

“Immunity from criminal or civil proceedings only extends to the President of India and Governors of states as per Article 361 of Constitution of India. However, a Chief Minister can only be disqualified or removed from office in case of conviction,” Advocate Adeel Ahmed said.

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He added: “The arrest is for furtherance of investigation. It doesn’t impede his functioning as an Assembly member and Leader of the House by virtue of which he holds the post of the Chief Minister in our parliamentary democracy.”

In many jurisdictions, there are no explicit provisions allowing a Chief Minister to govern from jail if they are under arrest for investigation or any other reason.

However, in some cases, there might be legal loopholes or interpretations that could potentially allow a Chief Minister to continue governing from jail temporarily, such as if they have not been convicted of any crime and are able to delegate their powers to another individual within the government structure.

That being said, Advocate Suresh Choudhary said: “Allowing a Chief Minister to continue governing from jail could raise significant ethical and practical concerns, as it could undermine the rule of law, the principle of accountability, and the public’s trust in the government. Therefore, it’s crucial for legal systems to have clear guidelines and mechanisms in place to address such situations, ensuring that the governance of the state remains stable and legitimate.”

Moreover, the AAP leaders and supporters firmly believe and stand by it that Kejriwal has been running, is running the government and will continue to do so from inside the jail, too.

Scores of people, including the party leaders, supporters and even Congress leaders, gathered outiside the Chief Minister’s residence after the ED arrested him on Thursday evening. Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai also announced that AAP will surround BJP headquarters at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Tons of reactions from various political leaders have poured in and protests against his arrest are likely to intensify with time.

Now, while the AAP and the opposition parties, including the Congress, the BRS, the Samajwadi Party, the CPI-M, the DMK, and others, criticised the government over the Chief Minister’s arrest, the BJP welcomed it.

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The arrest has led to political uproar, with AAP supporters and leaders protesting, and opposition parties accusing the BJP of political vendetta, especially with upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

While several Congress leaders opposed Kejriwal’s arrest calling it the “death of democracy” and “unconstitutional”, the BJP hailed it as the victory of truth.

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said: “Today the truth has won. Delhi’s most corrupt CM Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested by the ED. I want to say to the people of the country that this marks the end of corruption in Delhi. He is being punished for his misdeeds.”

Calling ED’s action against Kejriwal a “process of law”, BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the arrest has been done with a view to take appropriate action against corruption.

The opposition parties accused the BJP of indulging in vendetta politics, saying that the Chief Minister’s arrest shows how “jittery” the ruling BJP at the Centre is with less than a month left for the Lok Sabha polls.

“Clearly, Modi and the BJP are in panic over people’s rejection in the ongoing elections,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, adding that he strongly condemns Kejriwal’s arrest.

“All opposition leaders who defected and joined the BJP are protected and patronised. They are the ‘Satya Harishchandras’! These arrests will only cement people’s desire to defeat BJP, defend democracy and Indian Constitution,” the Left leader said.

Moving ahead, Kejriwal has sought an urgent hearing on his plea filed before the Supreme Court challenging High Court’s order, which had refused to grant any interim protection to him from any coercive action by the ED.

The top court is very likely to hear it on Friday.



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Tejashwi Yadav slams PM Modi for ‘Mujra’ remarks




Patna, May 26 (IANS) Bihar Leader of the Opposition (LoP) Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘Mujra’ remarks, saying the PM should use dignified language against the opposition parties.

Tejashwi Yadav said that PM Modi came to Bihar and said baseless, factless and false things publicly on Saturday where he once again tried to “confuse everyone” but was unsuccessfully in his attempt.

“Such things are not expected from you. We expect a healthy discussion from you as you must take care of the dignity of the post you are holding. The usage of terms like Mujra and Mangalsutra does not suit the Prime Minister of this big-hearted country. To be honest, we are worried about you,” said Tejashwi Yadav, in a letter addressed to PM Modi.

On the caste census, the Bihar LoP said that PM Modi must remember that leaders of all political parties of Bihar met him in August 2021 and demanded the caste census.

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“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was also in favour of caste census. The proposal for caste census was passed unanimously in the Bihar Legislative Assembly on my initiative. We all demanded a caste census but PM Modi rejected it,” Tejashwi Yadav wrote.

He said that as soon as the JD-U and RJD government came to power in Bihar, it conducted a caste-based survey at the state’s own expense and then in light of that survey, increased the scope of the reservation to 75 per cent.

“We kept you (PM Modi) requesting, again and again, to include it in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution but he always had an anti-backward and anti-Dalit mentality,” Tejashwi Yadav wrote.

He said that the Prime Minister did not consider Bihar’s important requests, which had a Bahujan voice in its favour.

“We had also appealed to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the Eastern Regional Council meeting held in Patna on December 10, 2023,” he said.

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On reservation, Tejashwi Yadav wrote, that PM Modi has found a unique way to end Babasaheb’s reservation which is available for government jobs under Section 15 and Section 16 of the Constitution.

“If you end government jobs in railways, army and other departments then what will be the concept of reservation? Shockingly, this serious concern is not in your priorities. We have urged you (PM Modi) many times in Parliament to make arrangements for reservation in the private sector so that a wide Bahujan population, Dalit community and other deprived groups get their due constitutional rights,” he said.

On reservation of Gujarati Muslims, Tejashwi Yadav said that all Dalits, extremely backward and tribal people know that BJP and PM Modi are staunch ideological enemies of Babasaheb, Birsa Munda, Kanshiram, Ram Manohar Lohia and Mandal Commission.

“I am also attaching the list of Muslim castes under the OBC category in Gujarat. Perhaps you are not aware that 25 castes of the Muslim community also get reservations in Gujarat. You were the Chief Minister of Gujarat for more than 13 years. So, refrain from spreading confusion and politics of hatred in the people,” he wrote.

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He said that instead of fighting a democratic battle, PM Modi is threatening to send a 34-year-old youth (Tejashwi Yadav) to jail.

“Are you not tearing the Constitution into pieces by making such threats? Elections will come and go but do not harm the Constitution and the country’s social structure anymore,” Tejashwi Yadav wrote.



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Congress yet to properly apologise for Operation Bluestar: Hardeep Puri




Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) Union Minister for Urban Housing, Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday said that the Congress was yet to apologise properly for Operation Bluestar at the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, the Golden Temple, even after 40 years of operation.

Addressing the media here on the occasion of the release of the BJP’s “Chandigarh Manifesto”, the Union Minister said the Congress was responsible for the massacre of Sikhs which took place after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Hardeep Puri said the Congress had been describing it as anti-Sikh riots whereas it was a massacre and “not a riot because in a riot, two sides are involved. In the massacre, only one community, i.e. Sikhs were targeted”.

The Union Minister also ridiculed the Congress’ promise of putting Rs 1 lakh in the bank accounts of a woman member of every family.

“This will be a drain of around Rs 32 lakh crore and is practically impossible to implement. It was clear that the Congress was trying to push a false narrative. AAP’s scheme of supplying 300 units of free electricity was also part of the same ‘revdi’ culture about which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had frequently spoken.

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“PM Modi believes that good governance is good politics,” added Hardeep Puri.

The Union Minister also targetted Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal over the corruption charges.

Under PM Modi-led government, there has been a manifold increase in capital expenditure which in turn has led to a spurt in the economic growth rate of the country, he said, adding: “The Indian economy now occupies the fifth place in the world and will soon become the third largest economy in the world.”

Hardeep Puri also said Chandigarh was among the top cities of not only India but also of the world and it must be represented in the Parliament by a person of the calibre of Sanjay Tandon, who was familiar with the city’s ethos and its problems.

Referring to a suggestion that India should open trade with Pakistan, Hardeep Puri said Pakistan had been using terrorism against India as an instrument of state policy.

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“India had now sent a clear message to Pakistan that it would not accept terrorism and that it would kill terrorists in their homes,” he added.

Punjab will go to the polls for its 13 Parliamentary seats along with the lone Chandigarh seat on June 1.



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Goa accident: All accused, including contractors, will be prosecuted, says CM Pramod Sawant




Panaji, May 26 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said that all the accused persons, including contractors, in the road accident that claimed four lives, will be prosecuted.

Four Bihar labourers were killed and four others injured after a bus rammed into their hutments along the roadside at Verna Industrial estate in the coastal state on Saturday night.

CM Sawant said: “The accident at Verna Industrial estate causing death and injuries is unfortunate. The procedure has been started to prosecute the driver of the bus who drove under the influence of alcohol, along with the contractor and subcontractors who accommodated the labourers dangerously in the huts at the spot. All accused are being charged for causing injuries and death. Government shall also blacklist the contractors and subcontractors. No one shall be spared.”

According to the chief minister, these labourers who were engaged in the work of pavement were provided accommodation along the roadside, which was dangerous and hence contractors would be blacklisted.

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Superintendent of Police (South) Sunita Sawant told media persons that the accident occurred after a bus driver carrying workers of a private company lost control of the steering.

“While negotiating to take a turn, the driver rammed the bus into hutments, where around eight labourers were sleeping. Four of them have died, while four are undergoing treatment at Sub District Hospital in Margao,” CM Sawant said.

She said that these workers, all natives of Bihar, were engaged in construction work of pavement.

Police said that the bus driver has also sustained injuries and is undergoing treatment.

Police are further investigating the case.



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PM Modi applauds Preneet Kaur's tireless service to Punjab




Patiala, May 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended his heartfelt commendation to Patiala candidate Preneet Kaur in a letter, recognising her family’s generations-long commitment to serving the people of Punjab.

In his letter, PM Modi lauded the extensive public service record of Kaur’s family, particularly highlighting the impactful contributions of Captain Amarinder Singh, both as Chief Minister and grassroots leader.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence in Kaur’s ability to represent the people of Patiala, citing her consistent advocacy for Punjab’s progress and prosperity over the past two decades.

“As a distinguished parliamentarian, you have consistently raised critical issues concerning the progress and prosperity of Punjab for over two decades. The strong bond you have established with the people of Patiala speaks volumes about the integrity and dedication with which you have tirelessly worked towards the betterment of the region,” the Prime Minister said.

Expressing optimism in Kaur’s electoral prospects, PM Modi underscored the importance of the ongoing elections in shaping the nation’s future.

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He urged voters to participate early despite the summer heat and called on party workers to focus on winning every booth.

Responding to PM Modi’s letter, four-time MP Preneet Kaur expressed deep gratitude and humility, pledging to continue serving Patiala and Punjab with renewed zeal.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive this heartfelt letter from Prime Minister @narendramodi ji. Your kind words recognising my family’s service to Punjab are truly inspiring and strengthen our dedication to serve Patiala and Punjab with even greater zeal. For us, it is a sacred duty to follow Guru Sahib’s ‘hukum’ to serve our people,” Preneet Kaur wrote on X.

She affirmed her commitment to the progress and prosperity of Punjab, echoing the sentiment of the Fateh Rally’s success as a testament to Punjab’s determination to support the mission of Viksit Bharat and Viksit Punjab, and expressed confidence of BJP’s victory.

Captain Amarinder Singh also expressed his gratitude, tweeting: “Heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister @narendramodi ji for your encouraging letter. Your recognition of our family’s service to Punjab strengthens our resolve to serve Patiala and Punjab with renewed dedication.

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“We are committed to advancing the vision of Viksit Bharat and Viksit Punjab. I am confident that with ever-increasing support of the people, victory for the BJP in Patiala and Punjab is certain.”

Punjab will go to the polls for its 13 Parliamentary seats on June 1.



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Licence expired, doctors not qualified to treat newborn: Delhi Police on hospital fire




New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Police probe into the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital fire has revealed that the licence issued to the hospital by the Delhi Government Health Services (DGHS) had expired on March 31.

The initial probe also revealed that the doctors at the hospitals were not qualified to treat newborn babies, who were in need of Neonatal Intensive care, as they (doctors) were only BAMS degree holders.

Delhi Police arrested the hospital owner and a doctor on duty at the hospital. The owner was identified as Naveen Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar while the doctor was identified as Dr Aaksh (26), a resident of district Charkhi Dadri in Haryana, who is a BAMS degree holder.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary said that on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. a police control room (PCR) call regarding a fire at Baby Care NewBorn Hospital was received at Vivek Vihar police station, following which a police team rushed to the spot.

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“In the hospital, there were 12 newborn babies admitted and one was already dead before the fire incident. All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, for treatment,” said the DCP.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five newly born babies are undergoing treatment.

“All 7 dead bodies have been further shifted to GTB Hospital for postmortem,” said the DCP.

DCP Surendra Chaudhary further said that after dousing the fire, the hospital was inspected and there were burst oxygen cylinders found.

“An FIR for the offence under sections 336, 304A and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered. Further, the hospital was thoroughly inspected by police, fire brigade staff and crime team,” the DCP said.

He said that on inspection of the hospital and examination of the nursing staff, it was found that there was no fire extinguisher, improper entry exit, absence of emergency exit and deployment of the BAMS doctor.

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“Section 304 and 308 IPC have been invoked,” said the DCP.

He said that even as per the expired licence, the hospital was allowed for five beds only, but at the time of the incident 12 newborn babies were admitted to the hospital.

During the investigation, it was found that the ‘Baby Care New Born Child Hospital’ has four branches including Vivek Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, and in Haryana’s Faridabad and Gurgaon. The DCP said that the owner of the said hospital is Dr Naveen Khichi, an MD in Pediatric Medicine.

“He and his wife Dr Jagriti (Dentist) are running the said Hospital. The probable cause of the fire is stated to be a short circuit. An Electric Inspection Report from the Electric Inspector (Labour Department) is being obtained. Report is also being obtained from the Delhi Fire Services,” said the DCP.



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