Delhi High Court Refuses Relief to Arvind Kejriwal, Hearing Set for April 22 on ‘Protection from Coercive Action’

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi High Court

After a day-long hearing and heated debate, the bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain of Delhi High Court refused to grant any relief to Arvind Kejriwal. Delhi High Court, in its order written on Thursday, March 21, has said that the petition seeking protection from coersive action will now be heard on April 22.
In the session before lunch, Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that the process of sending summons to Kejriwal has been going on since the time of elections in five states. Arvind Kejriwal is the national convenor of Aam Aadmi Party. Lok Sabha elections are near. Therefore they should get relief from punitive action. If ED can wait for 8 months then why can’t it wait for 2 more months.
On this, the ED lawyer said that whenever summons are issued to them, they make some excuse or the other. He also termed the ED summons as illegal. ED lawyer SV Raju told the court that Arvind Kejriwal was called today (Thursday at 11 am) but he did not come.
The court asked the ED that if the summons had been violated so many times then why Kejriwal was not arrested. ED’s lawyer said that we never talked about arrest. We are calling for questioning. They want relief from arrest. They want to cancel the FIR which has not been registered yet.
Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that we are not afraid of arrest just like that. ED has issued a press release. In which Arvind Kejriwal’s name has appeared. That’s why we need protection. ED said that laws are equal for everyone. Be it a common man or a political official. We will work as per the law. Will not do anything outside the law.
ED lawyer SV Raju said that we have documents on the basis of which Kejriwal’s name is in the press release. On this the court said that you should present those documents. ED’s lawyer said that they can place the documents before the court but these documents cannot be shown to the petitioner. On this, the court resumed the hearing after studying the documents in its chamber. The court asked Abhishek Manu Singhvi that if you feared arrest then why did you not file a petition for anticipatory bail. On this he said that we have come to seek protection from the court.
The bench said, “We have heard both the sides and we are not inclined to grant relief from punitive action at this stage. However, the respondent is at liberty to file a reply.”
The application for interim relief is part of Kejriwal’s plea challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s summons issued to him for questioning.
Kejriwal moved the court in the wake of the ninth summons issued by the ED asking him to appear on Thursday.
During the hearing, the AAP chief’s senior lawyer also sought postponement of the summons issued for today.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, said, “It is already over. Time is over. He is not appearing.”
Kejriwal has repeatedly refused to appear before the federal anti-money laundering agency, terming the summons as illegal.
The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and implementation of the Delhi government’s excise duty policy for 2021-22, which was later cancelled.
AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are in judicial custody in the case.
Kejriwal’s name has been mentioned several times in the charge sheet filed by the ED. The agency has alleged that the other accused were in touch with Kejriwal to formulate the excise policy, which resulted in undue benefits to them, in return for which they paid bribes.

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About the Author: Ashish Sinha

-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008