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HomeNewsLegalSwati Maliwal vs Bibhav Kumar: Legal Experts Discuss Challenges in AAP Controversy

Swati Maliwal vs Bibhav Kumar: Legal Experts Discuss Challenges in AAP Controversy

The recent altercation between AAP MP Swati Maliwal and former personal secretary to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Bibhav Kumar, has led to a series of legal complications and counter-complaints. Legal experts weigh in on the challenges facing the investigation, highlighting potential delays and discrepancies in the case.

Counter-Complaint Adds Complexity to AAP Saga

Two days after AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal alleged she was assaulted by Bibhav Kumar, the former personal secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar has filed a counter-complaint against Maliwal. According to sources, Kumar’s complaint accuses Maliwal of forced entry into the CM’s residence, breaching security, and assaulting him. Kumar was last seen with Kejriwal in Lucknow, but his location has been unknown since then, as he was not spotted with the Delhi CM during a recent Mumbai rally. The conflicting FIRs complicate Delhi Police’s task of uncovering the truth.

Culpable Homicide and Delay in FIR

The FIR against Kumar includes a charge of culpable homicide under Section 308 of the IPC. Maliwal claims that Kumar slapped her 7-8 times and kicked her in the stomach and pelvic region. Lawyer Shilpi Jain questioned this charge, stating that it requires proof of grievous, life-threatening injury. “The charge will stand in court if the medical report proves a grievous, life-threatening injury. Slapping attracts Section 323, which is a bailable offence,” she said. Jain highlighted that the delay in filing the FIR and conducting Maliwal’s medical examination could benefit the defense, raising issues like evidence tampering and witness tutoring.

Maliwal reached the Civil Lines police station on Monday after making a PCR call alleging assault at the CM’s residence but did not register a formal complaint until Thursday. Her medical examination at AIIMS was carried out on Thursday night — more than 48 hours after the alleged incident. “Although the delay in lodging the FIR is not inordinate, considering the high-profile nature of the case and the prevailing circumstances, the same could pose issues like tampering of evidence and tutoring of witnesses present at the place of occurrence. Since the FIR has been lodged belatedly, the medico-legal finding might also vary.

Lastly, the delay can also be used by the defence to cast aspersions on the genuineness of the prosecution case by alleging it is an afterthought and to be a coloured version of the incident, thereby corroding the credibility of the version of the prosecutrix,” Jain explained.

Non-Disclosure of Full Facts

In the FIR, Maliwal alleged that while waiting at Kejriwal’s residence, Kumar entered and asked, “How dare you not follow and accept what we have asked you to?” Delhi High Court lawyer Soni Singh pointed out that the FIR lacks context regarding this statement and the motive for Maliwal’s visit to the CM’s residence. “No motive or reason is mentioned in the FIR. It does not say why she was attacked or what she was being asked to do which she refused?” Singh said.

She also noted that the absence of witnesses turns this into a case of Maliwal’s word against Kumar’s. “At the camp office during elections, it is also noteworthy that no one else is stated to have been present or witness to the entire incident,” Singh added. According to Maliwal, after she called 112 to complain about the assault, security personnel at Kejriwal’s residence entered and asked her to leave “at Bibhav Kumar’s behest.” Delhi Police is likely to question the personnel on duty to understand the state in which they saw Maliwal.

CCTV Footage

The CCTV footage from the waiting area at the CM’s residence could be crucial for Delhi Police. AAP questioned Maliwal based on a video leaked to the media on Friday, believed to be recorded after the alleged assault. It shows Maliwal sitting in the CM’s residence, surrounded by security personnel, and getting into a verbal altercation. The video, which Maliwal alleged was edited, does not conclusively establish the injuries to the Rajya Sabha MP. Maliwal was captured limping by media cameras outside AIIMS and Kejriwal’s residence on Thursday and Friday.

Maliwal demanded that the full CCTV footage be released to establish the truth. She also posted on X about her apprehensions of CCTV footage being tampered with. “I have received information that now these people are tampering with the CCTV of the house,” the former Delhi women’s panel chief posted. Delhi Police visited the CM’s residence on Friday with Maliwal, recreating the crime scene and speaking to security personnel on duty to establish the sequence of events. Maliwal reportedly arrived in a cab and left in an auto after the alleged assault.

The cab and the auto drivers could be crucial witnesses in the case. Police are also likely to question AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who acknowledged in a press conference on Wednesday that Maliwal was misbehaved with by Bibhav Kumar. “Yesterday, Maliwal had gone to meet Arvind Kejriwal at his residence. While she was waiting to meet him in the drawing room, Bibhav Kumar misbehaved with her. This is a highly condemnable incident. Kejriwal has taken cognizance of it and will take strict action in the incident,” Singh had said on Tuesday.

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