Delhi High Court holds CM Kejriwal’s Arrest by ED as ‘valid’

New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate and said that the arrest is ‘valid and not in contravention of Law and the Remand also cannot be termed illegal’.

A single bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma held that ED has provided enough evidence that Kejriwal received funds as kickbacks during the Goa elections. “The ED has placed enough material, statements of approvers and AAP’s candidate stating that Kejriwal was given money for Goa elections,” the Court held.

The Court said that the ED probe reveals that Kejriwal conspired and formulated a new excise policy and used proceeds of crime for party expenses.

The HC held that Kejriwal is also allegedly involved in a personal capacity in the formulation of policy and demanding kickbacks and secondly also accountable in the capacity of national convenor of his party AAP,” the Judge said.

The Court pronounced the order in open court saying that there is no ‘separate’ law for the common man or the Chief Minister. ‘The Court won’t lay down two separate laws and no special privilege for CM Kejriwal’.

The Court categorically clarified that this order is not related to the granting of Bail, as no application seeking bail was filed by Kejriwal.

Today’s High order relates only to Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by the ED and the remand thereafter.

The Plea of Kejriwal’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi that the allegations are based on the statements of the approvers who were pressurised to speak against Kejriwal.

The Senior Advocate argued that ED forced the approvers Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy and Magunta Reddy to make statements against Kejriwal. He further alleged that two approvers even have links with the ruling party.

The Court held that the Approver statement cannot be questioned. ‘To doubt the approver is to doubt the judge’. The Approver law is there for the past 100 years and it cannot be doubted. The CM can cross-examine witnesses later, the Judge said.

The HC said, “Who gives tickets for contesting election or who purchases electoral bonds is not the concern of the court.”

Kejriwal had in addition to challenging his arrest and questioned the timing of his arrest by the central agency, alleging it is in ‘contravention’ of the basic structure of the Constitution, including democracy, free and fair elections and a level playing field.

The Court said, the probe by ED is irrespective of election timings, ‘the CM cannot decide how the probe has to be done. Probe is not as per accused convenience’, the Court held.

The Court held that the arrest was not in Contravention of the law.

Kejriwal was arrested on the night of March 21. The trial court had on March 22 remanded him to six days of ED custody which was extended by a further four days.

On April 1, he was remanded to judicial custody till April 15 by the trial court. He is currently in judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

Kejriwal had skipped nine summons issued to him by ED. Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are also accused in the case.

Singh was recently granted bail by the Supreme Court, while Sisodia is still in judicial custody.

Another accused Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and MLC K Kavitha was arrested by ED on March 15 for her involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.

A Delhi court had denied interim bail to Kavitha in the case as ED had requested the court that releasing her would amount to influencing the witnesses.

The matter pertains to the alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 which was later scrapped.

During the hearing last week, the ED rejected Kejriwal’s allegation linking the arrest to the upcoming general elections.

“Criminals and under-trials have no business to say that we will commit a crime and will not be arrested because elections are here. This is completely ridiculous. It will give license to criminals to roam around freely.

Aam Aadmi has to go behind bars if he has committed a crime but because you are a chief minister you can’t be arrested?” additional solicitor general SV Raju, while appearing for the ED, had argued in court.

The ED had alleged that the excise policy was implemented by Kejriwal as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12 per cent to certain private companies, although such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of the Group of Ministers (GoM).

The ED also alleged that there was a conspiracy that was coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with South Group through BRS leader K Kavitha to give extraordinary profit margins to wholesalers.

Nair was acting on behalf of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, according to the agency.

Kejriwal’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that they will move the Supreme Court against the High Court order.

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