Delhi High Court reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against arrest : The Tribune India

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Delhi High Court reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against arrest

Delhi High Court reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against arrest

AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who was imprisoned in the excise policy case, comes out of Tihar Jail. PTI



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 3

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a petition by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy scam.

CM allowed Electric kettle, table & chair

A Delhi court on Wednesday directed the Tihar jail authorities to provide an electric kettle to CM Kejriwal in view of his “medical condition” and a table and a chair for reading books

“I am going to reserve the judgment,” Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said after hearing arguments from senior counsel AM Singhvi for Kejriwal and Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, who represented the ED. The order is expected to be pronounced on Thursday.

The ED had arrested Kejriwal on March 21 after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by the probe agency in the money laundering case. On April 1, a Delhi special court sent Kejriwal to 14-day judicial custody on the expiry of his ED custody.

Singhvi questioned the timing and necessity of the Delhi CM’s arrest, saying it went against the basic structure of the Constitution, which included free and fair elections that required a level playing field for all political parties during the democratic exercise.

However, the ASG contested Singhvi’s submissions, contending that the offence of money laundering was prima facie made out and that the investigation against Kejriwal was at a nascent stage.

Raju said the accused could not cite the Lok Sabha elections or his position as the Delhi CM to claim any special exception in the money laundering case. “Everybody has to be treated equally and someone who looted the country can’t claim immunity citing upcoming elections,” he submitted.

Denying allegations of bias levelled against the probe agency, Raju asserted that the case was based on evidence and that “criminals are supposed to be arrested and put in jail”. “An aam aadmi (common man) has to go behind bars if he has committed a crime but because you are a CM, you can’t be arrested? You will loot the country but no one can touch you because elections are coming…” the ASG wondered.

As Raju gave the example of a terrorist-politician who blew up an Army vehicle and then said “no one can touch me” as he was contesting elections, Singhvi took strong exception to it, terming it bizarre.

“This is nothing but a bizarre example… My point is if a man, a CM, blows up an Army vehicle, he should be arrested. But is that a fair analogy?” Singhvi asked.

“There is no evidence against him (Kejriwal) that he is involved in the offence of money laundering. It is preposterous to say that the CM of Delhi will be handling hawala transactions,” Singhvi said, adding that there was no recovery of money and that the money trail had not been established.

However, the ASG said, “We have demonstrated that Kejriwal was responsible for the affairs of the company (AAP) at the time when the offence of money laundering was committed. Tomorrow, if we feel that others were also responsible for it, we will make them responsible as well.”

Raju also pointed out that the petition had only assailed the first remand order, which sent Kejriwal to the ED custody till March 28, and not the subsequent orders.

The case related to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi Government’s excise policy 2021-22 that was scrapped after allegations of scam.

On March 27, the court had refused to grant interim relief to Kejriwal, saying the matter raised important issues that could not be “summarily” decided without hearing from the probe agency.

In its response, the ED alleged that Kejriwal was the kingpin and the key conspirator of the excise scam and there were reasons to believe on the basis of material in its possession that the AAP leader was guilty of the offence of money laundering.

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