Delhi Excise Policy: HC to Hear ED’s Plea against Arvind Kejriwal’s Bail on July 15

Delhi Excise Policy

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday scheduled the ED’s plea challenging the bail granted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case linked to the alleged excise scam for July 15, 2024.

On June 25, the high court had stayed the trial court’s order, which granted bail to the AAP convenor in the case.

A single bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, who was set to hear the plea, was informed by the counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that they received Kejriwal’s reply to their petition only late Tuesday night, and the agency needs additional time to file a rejoinder.

While the ED’s lawyer submitted that the copy of the reply was served to them at 11 PM on Tuesday, Kejriwal’s counsel maintained that it was served to the investigating officer (IO) of the case at 1 PM.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, requested that a specific time be fixed for the hearing due to the extreme urgency of the case. However, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, stated that the agency received Kejriwal’s reply only on Tuesday night and needed additional time to review the response and file a rejoinder.

Raju contended that documents are supposed to be served to the advocate representing the case, not the IO. Opposing this argument, Kejriwal’s lawyer urged the court to hear the matter immediately, alleging that the ED was attempting to delay the case.

The court noted that it was not disputed that the ED was served with the reply copy on Tuesday and that the agency was entitled to file a rejoinder. The court granted time for the ED to file its rejoinder and scheduled the matter for hearing on July 15.

On June 20, Kejriwal was granted bail by a trial court on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. The ED challenged this order on June 21, arguing that the trial court’s decision was “perverse,” “one-sided,” and “wrong-sided,” and based on irrelevant facts.

The high court imposed an interim stay on the trial court’s bail order on June 21, pending a decision on the ED’s application for interim relief. It issued notice and directed Kejriwal to file a reply to the ED’s petition. On June 25, the high court issued a detailed order staying the trial court’s bail decision.

The Delhi chief minister was arrested by the ED on March 21 and by the CBI on June 26 in connection with money laundering and corruption cases. The excise policy was scrapped in 2022 following a CBI probe into alleged irregularities and corruption related to its formulation and execution. The CBI and ED have claimed that irregularities occurred while modifying the excise policy and that undue favors were extended to license holders.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte