Delhi Excise Policy: HC Reserves Order on Arvind Kejriwal’s Plea Challenging ED Arrest

Arvind Kejriwal

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

“I am going to reserve judgement,” said Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma after hearing the arguments put forth by the senior counsel appearing for the AAP leader as well as the probe agency.

The AAP national convener questioned the “timing” of his arrest and asserted that it contravened the basic structure of the Constitution, encompassing free and fair elections and a level playing field.

The Delhi Chief Minister, presently under judicial custody, was represented by senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi.

The probe agency, represented by Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, opposed the petition and stated that the offence of money laundering was prima facie established in this case. Currently, the investigation against the petitioner is at an early stage.

Furthermore, the ASG refuted the allegations of bias leveled against the probe agency, emphasizing that their case is grounded in evidence and that “criminals are supposed to be arrested and put in jail.”

ED’s senior counsel also remarked that the petition solely contested the initial remand order issued against the petitioner, which detained him in the agency’s custody until March 28, and not subsequent orders.

On March 21, the Delhi CM was arrested by the ED following the high court’s denial of protection from coercive action by the federal anti-money laundering agency.

The case concerns alleged corruption and money laundering related to the formulation and implementation of the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was subsequently annulled.

Kejriwal was remanded to judicial custody in the case on April 1 after being presented in the trial court following the expiration of his ED custody.

On March 27, the court declined to grant interim relief to Kejriwal, stating that the matter raised significant issues that could not be hastily decided without soliciting the agency’s stance. The court had directed the federal agency to submit its response to the challenge against Kejriwal’s arrest and subsequent remand to ED custody.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte