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EC Orders FIR Against Kejriwal Over Bribe Remark. What it Means

Aam Aadmi Party convener & Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during election campaigning for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections,in Border villages in Attari. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Election Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Goa to lodge an FIR against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his remarks about bribes made at a poll rally in Goa.

Addressing a rally in Goa, the AAP leader had allegedly asked voters to accept money from the BJP and the Congress, but vote for the Aam Aadmi Party.

The poll body also termed as “scurrilous” the AAP leader’s claim that the Commission is encouraging bribery by restraining him from uttering such statements.

The poll body said FIR/complaint be lodged against the AAP leader under provisions of the Representation of the People Act dealing with bribing voters and sections 171C and 171E of the IPC.

So will Kejriwal be arrested? No, because it is a bailable offence with the maximum punishment of one year jail or fine or both.

The filing of an FIR simply means instituting a criminal case against the Delhi CM. What follows is the investigation of the alleged offence.

It also seems unlikely that the FIR will bring the AAP leader to tone down his fiery speeches, which have landed him in trouble with the EC earlier too. In 2015, the election watchdog had censured Kejriwal for similar remarks in Delhi.

“Arvind Kejriwal has again written a letter… stating therein that he is not abetting bribery by appealing to voters to accept money from any party but to vote in favour of jhadoo (AAP)… he stated that the Commission is encouraging bribery by refraining him from uttering such statements.

“These submissions being baseless and scurrilous are totally unjustified in the light of the provisions of law on bribery and are not acceptable to the Commission,” the Commission said.

“The Commission is quite concerned about your conduct, public utterances and demeanour. Even after being reprimanded by the Commission…you are still continuing with your statements of instigating voters to take money from other parties.

“Instead of making wild allegations, you are most welcome to adduce any evidence of distribution of black money…,” the letter to the AAP leader said.

(With agency inputs)