Delhi Excise Scam: High Court Refuses to Grant Immediate Relief to Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Liquor Scam

In a significant blow to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court bench of Justice Swarnakanta Sharma, has declined to provide any reprieve. This decision has compounded the challenges for CM Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). With former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and MP Sanjay Singh already incarcerated in relation to the case, and the arrest of alleged South Cartel chief K. Kavitha by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) preceding Kejriwal’s detention, the situation has escalated.  The Court Written in order, ‘This Court remains conscious of the fact that to reach a conclusion as to whether the petitioner herein is entitled to immediate release or not, this Court will necessarily have to decide the issues raised in the main petition, as those issues are the edifice of arguments of the  Senior Counsel abhishek Manu Singhvi for the petitioner seeking immediate release of the petitioner,”

The high court has issued notice to ED and sought a reply from ED on Arvind Kejriwal’s interim relief plea by April 2. The court will hear the case on April 3.

Meanwhile, the ED has conducted raids on the premises of Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Goa election in-charge Deepak Singla. Regarding the timing of these raids vis-à-vis the completion of Kejriwal’s ED remand, sources suggest that the ED has unearthed additional evidence related to the MoneyTrail. To validate this evidence, the ED may seek an extension of Kejriwal’s remand by filing an application in the Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday.

In the morning hearing started in Delhi High Court, Abhishek Manu Singhvi gave equally strong arguments in favor of Kejriwal, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju also opposed him. After hearing both the parties, the High Court reserved the order. It is being said that the court can give its verdict on Kejriwal’s arrest from 5 pm onwards.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED on the plea filed by the Delhi High Court seeking arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor scam, said that he should be given sufficient time to file his reply. Whereas senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, has said that the ED has made the arrest on wrong grounds. Therefore he should be released immediately.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the agency, said the “heavy” petition was submitted to him only on Tuesday and three weeks’ time should be given to get its stand on record. He also said that reasonable time should be given to reply even for interim relief.
Earlier, Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that the arrest of Kejriwal by ED has violated his fundamental and human rights. ED has failed to prove the crime against him. Arrest without questioning shows that the current action is politically motivated. Abhishek Manu Singhvi had demanded immediate release of Kejriwal from jail and cancellation of remand.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, argued vehemently against the grounds of Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED. Singhvi contended that the arrest violated Kejriwal’s fundamental and human rights, asserting that the ED had failed to substantiate any criminal wrongdoing. He criticized the apparent political motivations behind the arrest, highlighting the absence of prior questioning and the rushed nature of the action. Singhvi urged for Kejriwal’s immediate release from custody and the annulment of the remand order.

In his defense of Kejriwal before the Delhi High Court, Singhvi raised questions about the timing and necessity of the arrest, particularly in the context of upcoming elections. He questioned the urgency of the arrest preceding thorough investigation and the lack of clarity regarding Kejriwal’s alleged role. Singhvi underscored the importance of ensuring free and fair elections and accused the ED of employing the arrest as a tactic to disrupt the electoral process, especially after the imposition of the code of conduct.

Singhvi further challenged the legality of the arrest, pointing out procedural irregularities such as the absence of a statement under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He suggested that the arrest aimed to target Kejriwal and his party, rather than being based on substantive evidence of wrongdoing. Singhvi emphasized the need for transparency and adherence to due process in the legal proceedings against Kejriwal, echoing concerns about the potential misuse of power for political ends.

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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