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‘Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in liquor policy case valid’: Delhi HC rejects CM’s plea against ED remand



'Arvind Kejriwal's arrest in liquor policy case valid': Delhi HC rejects CM's plea against ED remand

‘Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in liquor policy case valid’: Delhi HC rejects CM’s plea against ED remand

The Delhi High Court rejected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and remand order passed by the trial court in connection with the excise policy case. The court delivered the verdict in connection with the petition on Tuesday.

In a major setback to the Delhi chief minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) national convener, the high court held that Kejriwal’s arrest and remand by the ED was “not illegal”. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma also upheld the subsequent remand orders, including the one remanding Kejriwal to judicial custody, Live Law reported.

The ED had arrested Kejriwal on March 21. The next day, Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court remanded him to the ED’s custody. On April 1, he was sent to the judicial custody till April 15.

What Delhi HC said in its order?

  1. “Plea not for bail but terming arrest illegal”: In its order, the high court observed that the petition challenged the arrest and said it was in violation of Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). “The court clarifies that the plea is not for bail but for declaring the arrest illegal,” Bar and Bench reported while citing the court order.
  2. Allegation against Kejriwal: The high court said the material collected by the ED “reveals Arvind Kejriwal conspired and was actively involved in use and concealment of proceeds of crime.” It added, “The ED case also reveals that he was involved in his personal capacity as well as convenor of AAP.” The court further mentioned that the “material included statements of hawala dealers, a member of AAP etc”. The names were not disclosed in the judgment.
  3. Timing of arrest: Kejriwal had earlier questioned the timing of the arrest that came just ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Reacting to this, the court said, “Petitioner has been arrested in a money laundering case and the court has to examine his arrest and remand as per law, irrespective of the timing of elections.”
  4. Doubts on case approvers’ statements: The court referred to Kejriwal’s assertions that case “approver” Raghav Magunta and his father paid money to the BJP. It said, “Who gives tickets to contest elections to whom or who gives electoral bonds to whom is not for this court to see.”

Reacting to Kejriwal’s argument casting doubt on the ‘unreliable’ statements of “approvers” in the excise policy case, the court said the statements of “Raghav Magunta and Sarath Reddy are approver statements which were recorded under the PMLA as well as Section 164 CrPC”.

“To cast doubt on the manner of recording statement of approver would amount to casting aspersions on the court and judge,” the order added. “The law of approver is over 100 years old and not one year old. It is not a one-year-old law to suggest as if it was enacted to falsely implicate the petitioner (Kejriwal),” it added.

  1. Necessity of arrest: The court said the ED was in possession of enough material which had led them to arrest Kejriwal. “Non-joining of investigation by Kejriwal, delay caused by him was also impacting those in judicial custody,” the court added.

“The files placed before the court by the ED reveal that Kejriwal was granted and all mandate of law laid down in the Pankaj Bansal case was followed. The magistrate court order was a reasoned order,” the high court observed.

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