India court orders top anti-graft activist to stay in jail

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An Indian court on Friday ordered anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal to remain behind bars for another two weeks as he continued to refuse to pay bail in a defamation case.

A Delhi court extended Kejriwal's custody to June 6, days after he was arrested for refusing to pay 10,000 rupees (S$214.50) in bail over a defamation case filed by a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that won a resounding victory in recent elections.

Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Admi (Common Man) Party who was briefly Delhi chief minister, included BJP leader Nitin Gadkari in a list of politicians earlier this year that he alleged were the country's most corrupt.

The list also included Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and the nation's then-finance minister.

"You will face trial... you cannot say 'I am innocent and I will not give a bond'," Judge Gomati Manocha told the former tax-official-turned-politician, according to the Press Trust of India.

"Being in the position you were (as chief minister), I expect you to be sensible," the judge added.

Kejriwal, who has won a reputation for taking on the country's political and business elite over corruption issues, has been branded a "drama queen" by opponents for his preference to go to jail rather than pay bail.

Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party stunned rivals with its strong showing last December in its state electoral debut.

He became known for his "anarchist" actions as chief minister, including sleeping overnight on a pavement to press for police reform.

But Kejriwal resigned as chief minister only 49 days after taking power for which he apologised on Wednesday, hours before his arrest.

He said he had "made a mistake" in quitting to contest the general election and asked for fresh polls in Delhi state.

The Aam Admi Party won only four seats in India's just-concluded general election, a dismal showing after securing mass support last year for Kejriwal's fight to clean up graft-ridden politics.

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