"Had Mangoes Only Thrice, Sweets 6 Times In Jail": Arvind Kejriwal's Lawyer

Arvind Kejriwal in jail: The AAP has claimed a "conspiracy to kill" the Delhi Chief Minister, who reportedly requires insulin twice a day.

'Had Mangoes Only Thrice, Sweets 6 Times In Jail': Arvind Kejriwal's Lawyer

Kejriwal in jail: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File).

New Delhi:

Has Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - a Type 2 diabetes patient - been denied insulin while behind bars in Tihar Jail? Did Mr Kejriwal eat mangoes and sweets, and did he drink tea with sugar instead of a non-calorific sweetener meant for diabetics? And how many times did he eat aloo-puri?

These are the questions at the heart of the latest row between the Aam Aadmi Party leader and the Enforcement Directorate, which had opposed his request for daily 15-minute video consults with his doctor; the ED claimed Mr Kejriwal had deliberately eaten foods high in sugar to create grounds for medical bail. The court resumed its hearing today and then reserved its verdict for Monday.

Arvind Kejriwal's Insulin Request

In today's hearing Mr Kejriwal - who sought directions to jail officials to ensure supply of insulin - hit out at the ED for being "petty" and "politicising" his diet in jail instead of ensuring his health.

"Just because I am a prisoner... do I have no right to a dignified life and good health? Am I a gangster that I cannot even be allowed 15 minutes of video conference with my doctor?" he asked in court.

"ED claimed I want to increase my blood sugar levels to get bail. Am I going to risk paralysis to get bail? Whatever food I have is as per the diet chart prepared by my doctor prior to arrest," senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Mr Kejriwal, told the court at the hearing start.

In his submission Mr Kejriwal said he had been prescribed 50 units of insulin - 28 in the morning and 22 at night - since 2012, and that he had been "deprived of the life-saving drug for the last 29 days".

"It is shocking that ED (believes) a person would deliberately cause such alarming hikes in sugar level and risk his life - for getting medical bail," Mr Kejriwal argued in his submission, countering the ED's rationale for the spike in his blood sugar level - that he has deliberately been eating sugary foods.

To this the ED replied: "Legal mulakaats (meetings) were abused earlier... there is a court order."

"The real reason for the continuous spike is the refusal of jail authorities to give insulin to the applicant, which is a life-saving drug..." the Chief Minister's submission argued.

Mr Kejriwal's submission offered a detailed rebuttal to the ED's claims, including providing the names of the insulin injections and underlining his doctor's recommendations, as well as listing when he had been supplied with mangoes (as part of the home-cooked meals allowed by the court).

"The allegation is I have been consuming mangoes (but) out of 48 meals from home, only three had mangoes. No mangoes were sent after April 8," Mr Kejriwal's lawyer said, arguing the ED had made mangoes "look like sugar bullets". "(In reality) their sugar level is less than brown or white rice."

READ | After AAP's "Plan To Kill" Claim, Kejriwal's Court Plea For Insulin

On the ED's claim that Mr Kejriwal regularly had white sugar in his tea, Mr Singhvi clarified the Chief Minister only used Sugar Free, a popular artificial sugar food item. Slamming the probe agency for being "ridiculous", Mr Singhvi also accused it of misusing its "influence in the media".

"Just because you have a lot of influence in the media you are able to publish - that I am having aloo-puri - even though this meal was sent only once - during Navratri," he told the court.

READ | AAP Claims "Plan To Kill Kejriwal In Jail" In "Eating Mangoes" Row

The ED opposed these submissions, claiming the food Mr Kejriwal was eating did not match the prescribed diet chart. It also argued the jail had sufficient medical facilities to care for Mr Kejriwal.

"Please see the diet prescribed to him. It has no reference to any sweet or fruits or sweet items. It appears to be a very regulated and restricted diet... Therefore it has direct relation to his submission - that he has an alarming rise in sugar level," the ED's lawyer, Zuhaib Hossain, told the court.

The ED's legal team also argued that the presence of mangoes in Mr Kejriwal's diet were contrary to what was allowed by the Chief Minister's doctor. They also referred a report by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, which said "food to be avoided are mangoes, bananas, chikoo, etc..."

READ | Arvind Kejriwal In 14x8 Feet Cell. See What All Court Has Allowed

Mr Singhvi, however, emphasised that the fruit had been sent only thrice. The last time was April 8 and the first blood sugar reading after that was three days later. "What is the relation..." he asked.

"He was given mangoes three times and aloo-puri once..." he said, answering "No" in response to a question by the bench about variations in Mr Kejriwal's diet from what was allowed by the court.

As the hearing wound down, Mr Kejriwal pointed out that his medical condition is "bad and Monday will be late", to which the court said, "File your replies by tomorrow. I'll reserve orders on Monday."

Why Was Arvind Kejriwal Arrested?

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam in the national capital. The probe agency believes the Chief Minister played a key role in drafting the now-scrapped policy and seeking bribes, or kickbacks, in return for liquor licences.

The AAP and Mr Kejriwal have refused all charges and called the arrest and case "political vendetta", coming as it did, weeks before the Lok Sabha election.

READ | Kejriwal To Stay In Jail For Now, Top Court Refuses Early Hearing

Mr Kejriwal has challenged his arrest in the Supreme Court. However, the top court has refused an early hearing. He must now wait till April 29, when the court reconvenes to hear the ED's reply.

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