In a high-profile case that has captivated Delhi’s political and legal circles, the Tis Hazari District Courts denied bail to Bibhav Kumar, an aide to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on charges of assaulting Swati Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The ruling was handed down by Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Anuj Tyagi on May 27, 2024, after a detailed hearing that underscored the complexities and contentious nature of the case.
Background of the Case
Bibhav Kumar was arrested by the Delhi Police on May 18, 2024, following allegations of assault brought forward by Swati Maliwal. According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by Maliwal, Kumar assaulted her at Kejriwal’s residence, hitting her in the chest, stomach, and pelvic area. These serious accusations led to his immediate remand in police custody for five days, followed by a transfer to judicial custody on May 24.
Swati Maliwal, a prominent figure within AAP, has alleged that the assault occurred during an altercation at the Chief Minister’s residence. The incident has since drawn significant media attention, given the political implications and the severity of the charges.
Court Proceedings and Arguments
During the bail hearing, Kumar’s defense counsel vehemently argued against the charges, presenting a narrative that questioned the legitimacy and timing of Maliwal’s allegations. The defense contended that Maliwal was not invited to the Chief Minister’s residence and had trespassed onto the property. “Who called her? Was she invited? She barged in and trespassed in CM’s residence,” the defense counsel argued, seeking to discredit the basis of the complaint.
Moreover, the defense pointed to discrepancies in the immediate response to the alleged assault. They questioned why Maliwal did not file a police complaint on the same day of the incident and why she sought medical examination at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) rather than a Delhi government hospital. “Everything was pre-planned to suit the story,” the defense suggested, implying a potential motive to fabricate the incident.
On the other hand, the prosecution, representing Delhi Police, provided a starkly different account. They detailed the physical assault, stating that Maliwal was hit on her chest and neck and was dragged, during which she hit her head on a table. The police also highlighted the absence of video footage from the incident, suggesting it might have been deliberately removed, which raised concerns about tampering and the influence Kumar might still wield.
Maliwal’s Personal Testimony
Adding to the gravity of the hearing, Swati Maliwal personally addressed the court. She expressed fear for her safety and that of her family, citing threats she had received following the incident. Maliwal pointed to a video by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, which, after being published, allegedly resulted in a flood of death and rape threats against her. “If Bibhav Kumar is allowed to come out, my life and my family’s life would be under grave danger,” she told the court, underlining the potential risks associated with granting bail to Kumar.
Judicial Considerations
In denying bail, Additional Sessions Judge Sushil Anuj Tyagi weighed the arguments from both sides and the evidence presented. The judge’s decision was influenced by the serious nature of the allegations, the potential for witness tampering, and the broader implications for justice and public safety. The absence of crucial video footage, combined with Maliwal’s testimony about threats, played a significant role in the court’s decision to prioritize the complainant’s safety and the integrity of the judicial process.
Broader Implications and Political Context
The case against Bibhav Kumar is not just a legal battle but also a significant political event, given his association with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the broader dynamics within the AAP. The incident has brought to the forefront issues of intra-party conflicts, the treatment of women within political spheres, and the potential misuse of power.
AAP has countered Maliwal’s allegations, suggesting political motivations behind the complaint. The party has highlighted videos circulating on social media that show Maliwal arguing with security personnel and leaving the Chief Minister’s residence, implying that the situation might have been misrepresented.
This case also sheds light on the role of digital media and public opinion in contemporary legal proceedings. The involvement of social media influencers like Dhruv Rathee and the subsequent public threats Maliwal reported receiving illustrate how digital narratives can influence and escalate legal battles.
The denial of bail to Bibhav Kumar in the Swati Maliwal assault case underscores the judiciary’s commitment to addressing serious allegations of violence and ensuring the safety of complainants. The case is a reminder of the delicate balance courts must maintain between upholding justice and navigating the complex interplay of legal, political, and social factors.
As the case progresses, it will continue to be closely watched, not only for its legal outcomes but also for its broader implications on political accountability and the protection of individuals within powerful institutions. The judiciary’s role in ensuring a fair and unbiased process will be crucial in determining the case’s ultimate resolution and maintaining public trust in the legal system.

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