Excise policy case: ‘Have recovered personal chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators’, ED tells Supreme Court : The Tribune India

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Excise policy case: ‘Have recovered personal chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators’, ED tells Supreme Court

Top court reserves verdict on Delhi CM’s petition challenging his arrest in money-laundering case

Excise policy case: ‘Have recovered personal chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators’, ED tells Supreme Court

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in ED custody. PTI file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, May 17

Spelling further trouble for beleaguered Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Enforcement Directorate on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has recovered his direct personal chats with a hawala operator in connection with a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy ‘scam’.

“I must point out, now we have found chats between Arvind Kejriwal and the hawala operator… personal… direct chats”, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju told a Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, opposing on behalf of the ED the AAP national Convenor’s petition challenging his arrest.

The ASG’s revelation came after the Bench – which also included Justice Dipankar Datta – repeatedly asked what material the probe agency had collected since its verdict rejecting former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s bail plea on October 30 last year.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi – who represented Kejriwal -- took strong exception to the ED's submission. “This is not fair… this information is being given now at 4:30 PM. This is suppression of evidence…Are we addressing the court or the press?" Singhvi wondered. He accused the ED of suppressing the information and making a late claim only to prejudice Kejriwal’s case.

The Bench reserved its verdict on Kejriwal's petition challenging his arrest by the ED in the case. "Arguments heard. Judgment reserved," said Justice Khanna.

However, it said without prejudice to his rights and contentions, Kejriwal was free to move the trial court for grant of bail “in accordance with law."

The Bench asked Kejriwal and the ED to file their written notes and documents within a week.

Arrested on March 21 by the ED – the Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor was released on a 21-day interim bail by the top court on May 10 to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. He was ordered to surrender on June 2. Kejriwal has challenged the Delhi High Court’s April 9 verdict upholding his arrest in the case.

The ED alleged that Kejriwal was the kingpin and the key conspirator of the excise scam who demanded Rs 100 crore as AAP National Convenor from co-accused. The Delhi High Court had on April 9 upheld his arrest as he was the National Convenor of AAP which allegedly used proceeds of the crime in the 2022 Goa assembly polls.

The ASG said there was evidence of money being sent to the AAP through hawala channels even as Singhvi submitted the ED officials gave weightage to one inculpatory statement while ignoring nine exculpatory statements of witnesses.

As the ASG said the probe agency had material to justify arrest, Justice Khanna said, “Normally, the IO (Investigating Officer) should never arrest (an accused) till he has sufficient material to show him 'guilty'. That should be the standard…,”

Amid criticism of its order granting 21-day interim bail to Kejriwal, the Bench had on Thursday said it didn’t make any exception for the Delhi Chief Minister.

 

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#Arvind Kejriwal #Enforcement Directorate #Supreme Court


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