Arvind Kejriwal can't claim immunity from arrest, says ED; Delhi High Court reserves verdict : The Tribune India

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Arvind Kejriwal can't claim immunity from arrest, says ED; Delhi High Court reserves verdict

The order is expected to be pronounced on Thursday

Arvind Kejriwal can't claim immunity from arrest, says ED; Delhi High Court reserves verdict

Arvind Kejriwal arrives in a Delhi court. 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 Delhi excise policy scam.

"I am going to reserve 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 Chief Minister’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 that the accused can’t cite the Lok Sabha elections or his position as Delhi Chief Minister to claim any special exception. “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".

"Aam aadmi (common man) has to go behind bars if he has committed a crime but because you are a chief minister 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 chief minister, 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 Chief Minister of Delhi will be handling hawala transactions,” Singhvi said, adding there was no recovery of money and that the money trail had not been established.

However, the ASG said, "We have demonstrated that Arvind 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 has only assailed the first remand order which sent Kejriwal to the ED's custody till March 28, and not the subsequent orders.

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#Arvind Kejriwal #Enforcement Directorate


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