SC reserves verdict on Kejriwal’s plea challenging arrest by ED

New Delhi, May 17 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise policy scam.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta after hearing the arguments from both sides reserved its judgement.

The Additional Solicitor General SV Raju told the court that the Enforcement Directorate has also filed a complaint against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the probe is in the pipeline.

There is direct evidence of its national convenor Kejriwal “demanding” ₹100 crore as kickbacks in the case, the ASG alleged.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21, hours after the Delhi High Court, refused to grant him protection from any coercive action against him.

He was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on May 10 to campaign in the Lok Sabha polls till June 1. The apex court ordered him to surrender on June 2.

The eight-page bail order had rejected an argument by the ED that releasing the Delhi CM on interim bail for canvasing would create an impression among the public and set a judicial precedent, that politicians were a separate class, higher in status than the ordinary citizens and immune from arrest.

In the last hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta accused the Delhi CM of making public utterances, which amounted to a “slap on the system”.

The SG referred to a speech reportedly made by the Delhi CM wherein he had urged the public to vote for the AAP’s ‘broom’ symbol so that he would not have to go back to jail on June 2.

Justice Khanna said Kejriwal’s remarks were merely an “assumption” and that his May 10 interim bail order had only prohibited him from discussing his role in the excise policy case.

Earlier on April 9, the Delhi High Court had upheld Kejriwal’s arrest saying that there was adequate material, including statements of approvers, involvement of middlemen and references that cash was handed over for expenditure in the 2022 Goa elections.

The court had also asked ASG Raju to place before the court material in a piece chart on the Manish Sisodia judgement.

Raju said: “We now have direct chats between Arvind Kejriwal and Hawala operators”.

Solicitor General R Venkataramni had told the court that Kejriwal destroyed many phones and recovery was made from hawala operators. UNI SNG SSP

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