India

Arvind Kejriwal: India campaigner jailed in defamation case

Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally after launching the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi on 26 November 2012 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Arvind Kejriwal led his party to a stunning victory in the Delhi state assembly elections last December

Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of India's new anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has been arrested.

He is being sued by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari for calling him "corrupt". He was arrested for refusing to pay 10,000 rupees ($170; £100) as a bail bond.

Mr Kejriwal said he would not pay the bond as the case was "political".

Mr Kejriwal contested - and lost - the Varanasi seat in the recent general election against the BJP's PM-elect Narendra Modi.

"I am fighting against corruption. I will not seek bail as I have not done anything wrong, especially in a case like this," Mr Kejriwal's lawyer and AAP member Prashant Bhushan quoted the AAP chief as telling the court.

Mr Kejriwal said he would not flee from justice and offered to give an undertaking that he would appear in court at every hearing.

Metropolitan magistrate Gomati Manocha, however, ordered his arrest and sent him to Delhi's Tihar jail for two days - he has to appear in court on 23 May.

Mr Gadkari is among a number of high-profile politicians and industrialists who have been accused of corruption by Mr Kejriwal in the past two years.

'Mistake'

Mr Kejriwal led his party to a stunning performance in the Delhi state assembly elections in December, winning 28 of its 70 seats, and formed a government with support from the Congress party.

But he quit after 49 days in power, after his government failed to push through an important piece of anti-corruption legislation.

Correspondents say quitting the government has alienated his mainly middle-class supporters and that is the main reason for his party's poor showing in the general election in which the AAP won only four seats.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Kejriwal apologised for quitting as Delhi chief minister.

"Today I would like to apologise to the people of Delhi and the people of this country. We have made a mistake and I apologise for our mistake," he said and added that his exit made people think that he was running away from responsibility.

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