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Arvind Kejriwal To Stay In Jail For Now, Supreme Court Refuses Early Hearing



Arvind Kejriwal To Stay In Jail For Now, Supreme Court Refuses Early Hearing

Arvind Kejriwal To Stay In Jail For Now, Supreme Court Refuses Early Hearing

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday morning denied Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal immediate relief over a plea challenging his arrest last month on money laundering charges linked to the alleged liquor policy scam.

Mr Kejriwal – arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 – must now wait till the agency responds – on April 27 – to his plea, and the court reconvenes to hear its argument – on April 29.

This means Arvind Kejriwal will likely remain in jail till 10 days after the start of the Lok Sabha election, in which his Aam Aadmi Party (part of the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc) is widely seen as a key rival to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi and Punjab, which together have 20 Lok Sabha seats.

Arvind Kejriwal Hearing In Supreme Court

During the hearing today, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Mr Kejriwal, told a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta he had “facts to shock the conscience of the court”.

He also hit out at “selective leaks all over the place” to discredit the Chief Minister, and sought “an extremely short date (of Friday)” to begin hearing the petition. The court, though, refused the plea.

“We will give a reasonable date… a very short date. But not what you are saying,” the court said, as it also told Mr Singhvi to “reserve your arguments” after he continued to press for an earlier hearing.

The Supreme Court setback to Mr Kejriwal’s hope of an early hearing (and possible release, to allow him to campaign for the AAP) comes after the Delhi High Court last week rejected the same petition.

No Delhi High Court Relief For Kejriwal

The court said the ED had submitted enough material to back its claim – that the Chief Minister was allegedly involved in forming the now-scrapped policy and demanding bribes of ₹ 100 crore.

In the High Court Mr Kejriwal argued, vehemently, against his arrest, pointing to the timing of the federal agency’s action; the AAP boss, a vocal critic of the ruling BJP, was taken into custody hours after he was refused protection. That was after he skipped multiple summons. alleging a political conspiracy.

Eventually Mr Kejriwal’s arrest was ruled valid and his plea dismissed.

Mr Kejriwal had approached the Supreme Court after the High Court turned down his appeal, but had to wait because the top court said it would not constitute a special bench to hear him; the court was closed (for Eid) when the AAP leader approached on Thursday, April 10. Friday was a holiday too.

Mr Kejriwal has called his arrest an “unprecedented assault on the tenets of democracy” based on “free and fair elections” and “federalism”. The AAP has denied all charges and described the case against its National Convenor as “political vendetta” meant to destroy the party before the election.

“Political considerations can’t be brought before a court of law… the matter before this court is not a conflict between the central government and Arvind Kejriwal. It is a case between Kejriwal and ED.”

Meanwhile, in a related hearing, a Delhi court extended Mr Kejriwal’s judicial custody till April 23.

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