Arvind Kejriwal to Remain in Jail, Delhi HC Orders Interim Stay on Bail Granted to Him

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will remain incarcerated for now following the High Court’s interim stay on a trial court’s bail grant in the money laundering case related to an alleged excise scam.

The AAP national convenor, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21, would have been released from Tihar jail on Friday had the high court not intervened at the behest of the central anti-money laundering agency.

A vacation bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain stated, “The operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed until the pronouncement of this order,” and directed the parties to submit written submissions by June 24.

The court indicated it would reserve its decision for 2-3 days to thoroughly review the case records.

Additionally, the court issued notice to Arvind Kejriwal, seeking his response to the ED’s challenge against the trial court’s June 20 bail order, setting the hearing for July 10.

The ED’s counsel, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, argued vehemently against the trial court’s decision, describing it as “perverse,” “one-sided,” and “based on irrelevant facts.” Raju contended that the trial court had not adequately considered relevant facts and had denied the ED a fair opportunity to present its case. He sought an immediate stay on the bail order, asserting that the circumstances warranted cancellation of bail.

In opposition, senior advocates Abhishek Singhvi and Vikram Chaudhari, representing Kejriwal, countered that Article 21 of the Constitution, protecting life and personal liberty, applied equally to all, including the ED. Singhvi criticized the ED’s approach and defended the trial court’s proceedings, emphasizing that the ED had ample opportunity to argue its case during the lengthy hearing.

Raju continued to press his case, arguing that the trial court’s conclusions were flawed and that it had disregarded crucial evidence and timelines, thus warranting cancellation of bail. He underscored the ED’s allegations that Kejriwal and AAP were involved in money laundering related to proceeds from the Goa assembly elections.

Singhvi urged the court not to stay Kejriwal’s bail, suggesting that any issues could be addressed later if circumstances changed. Chaudhari highlighted Kejriwal’s cooperation with authorities by surrendering himself after the interim bail period ended, underscoring his client’s lawful conduct.

The trial court had earlier granted bail to the Delhi chief minister, noting the lack of direct evidence linking him to the alleged proceeds of crime in the money laundering case stemming from irregularities in the excise policy, which was subsequently scrapped in 2022.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte