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Central & South Asia

India anti-corruption campaigner jailed

Aam Aadmi Party supporters protest after leader sent to jail in New Delhi for refusing to pay bond in defamation case.

Last updated: 22 May 2014 10:02
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The Aam Aadmi Party won only four seats at the country's just-concluded general election [EPA]

India's anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal has been sent to jail for refusing to pay a bond, just hours after declaring he was ready to fight fresh elections in Delhi to revive his Aaam Aadmi Party's fortunes.

A Delhi court ordered Kejriwal be taken into judicial custody for refusing to pay 10,000 rupees ($170) in bail after he was sued for defamation by a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won the just concluded parliamentary elections by a landslide.

On Wednesday, Kejriwal's supporters protested outside Tihar Jail, where he is being detained,

 

Kejriwal included BJP leader Nitin Gadkari in a list of politicians released earlier this year that he branded the country's most corrupt. The list also included Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and the then finance minister.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) denied that his refusal to pay the bail after appearing in court was a publicity stunt, shortly after saying he would seek a new round of polls for the Delhi state assembly.

"Yes, this is a case against corruption. How else will we fight corruption? If we have to pay this price (going to jail), it is OK with us," AAP leader 

Ashutosh, who goes by one name, told news channel CNN-IBN.

Gained a reputation

Kejriwal, who has gained a reputation for taking on the country's political and business elite over corruption issues, will remain in jail until Friday when the next court hearing is scheduled.

His AAP party won only four seats in general election, in a dismal showing after securing mass support last year for his fight to clean up graft-ridden politics.

The former tax-official-turned-politician, who personally failed to win a seat, admitted on Wednesday that he had made a mistake in quitting as Delhi chief minister to contest the general election.

"We made a mistake by quitting earlier and we apologise for that," Kejriwal told reporters. "We told them to get ready for the (state) elections. We will go to the people in the city and tell them about the situation and also seek their forgiveness."

The AAP stunned the major parties last December in the Delhi state election in its debut electoral outing.

Riding a wave of voter anger over endemic corruption in government and everyday life, it won 28 seats and formed a state government with support from the Congress party.

But Kejriwal quit as chief minister only 49 days later when Congress and the BJP blocked his efforts to set up an anti-corruption commission.

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Source:
AFP
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