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Bibhav Kumar sent to 14-day judicial custody in Swati Maliwal assault case

New Delhi: Delhi's Tis Hazari court on Friday remanded Chief Minister's aide Bibhav Kumar for 14-day judicial custody in connection with the alleged assault on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Swati Maliwal.

Kumar was produced before the court after the three-day police custody granted on May 28 ended on Friday. He was arrested by the Delhi Police on May 18, in connection with the case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Goyal remanded Bibhav Kumar in judicial custody. He will be produced before the court on June 14.

Delhi Police had sought a 14-day judicial custody of Bibhav Kumar after interrogation. Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) submitted that the judicial custody of the accused is required for proper investigation, to prevent the accused from tampering with evidence, and to prevent him from making inducement or threats to any witness.

Defence counsels Rajat Bhardwaj and Karan Sharma opposed the judicial custody plea. They submitted that the accused is in no position to interfere with an investigation or tampering with the evidence. It was also stated, "I (Bibhav Kumar) am in no position to induce the witnesses."

On May 28, Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Atul Srivastava submitted that the accused formatted his mobile phone and refused to share the password. It was also submitted that police have received an interim report from a forensic expert on CCTV footage. The accused is seen entering the area where the DVR was there. He remained there for 20 minutes. There are chances of tampering with the evidence, APP argued.
APP also submitted that the complainant stated that the accused videographed the incident. He was seen with two mobile phones.

Defence counsel Rajiv Mohan opposed and submitted that the alleged incident took place on May 13, there was no complaint for three days, No MLC, FIR was lodged on May 16, accused was arrested on 18, defence counsel argued.

He also argued that the evidence is being created by defence counsel. Police want custody of the accused till the time he gives a statement that suits their requirements. It is admitted case that the footage of the place of occurrence is not available, Defence counsel submitted.

In this case, no weapon has been used, the accused's counsel submitted. Data of mobile can be retrieved, defence counsel argued. Why an accused would create evidence against him so that police can use it, defence counsel added.

The accused cannot be compelled to share the password, the accused's counsel argued. FIR is very simple but Prosecution is reading between the lines, Defence counsel argued. There is no evidence on record that the mobile was formatted. The fact of formatting of the phone is not admissible without any report of the forensic report, the defence counsel submitted.

The accused can be examined scientifically, there is no requirement of custody, defence counsel Rajiv Mohan argued. There should be a compelling ground to seek further custody. There is no material with the police to confront the accused with, the defence counsel submitted
APP has opposed the submissions of the defence and said that police have recieved an interim report from a forensic expert regarding the blank portion of the footage. There is a chance of tampering. The accused was using two mobiles, where the second mobile, APP submitted.

Defence counsel argued that this aspect has not been investigated as to why the complainant went to the CM house. Further, he argued that it is not a murder case where custody is required to recover the weapon. There is no evidence to show that the injuries mentioned in the MLC have been caused by the accused, the defence counsel submitted. MLC is of three days after the incident, defence counsel submitted. 

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