HC dismisses Kejriwal’s plea challenging arrest in money laundering case, says no violation of legal provisions

Besides his arrest, Kejriwal, who is currently in judicial custody, also challenged his subsequent remand in ED custody in the case

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  9 April 2024 10:57 AM GMT
Central Bureau of Investigation summons Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with Delhi Liquor Scam

New Delhi: In a massive setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition challenging his arrest in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise scam, saying there was no contravention of legal provisions.

Besides his arrest, Kejriwal, who is currently in judicial custody in Tihar jail, had also challenged his subsequent remand in Enforcement Directorate's custody, which the court said was not illegal.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said the Enforcement Directorate was in possession of "enough material" which led to Kejriwal's arrest, and the trial court remanded him in the custody of the agency by a well-reasoned order.

"The court is of the view that the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal was not in contravention of legal provisions. The remand can't be held to be illegal," said Justice Sharma while delivering the verdict.

She read out the judgement for 25 minutes and also explained certain portions of her decision in Hindi.

The court clarified that it was not dealing with Kejriwal's bail plea but his writ petition challenging the arrest on certain grounds.

It emphasised that law applied equally to all and courts were concerned with constitutional morality and not political morality, apparently referring to Kejriwal and his AAP claiming that he was arrested to put his party's Lok Sabha poll campain in jeopardy.

"This court observed that political considerations and equations cannot be brought before a court of law as they are not relevant for legal proceedings. In the case at hand, it is important to clarify that the matter before this court is not a conflict between the central government and petitioner Kejriwal. Instead it is a case between Kejriwal and Directorate of Enforcement," Justice Sharma said.

The court said the statements of approvers against the AAP national convenor would be judged during trial as it cannot hold a mini trial at this stage. It added that Kejriwal would be free to cross-examine the approvers at the stage of trial.

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

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21, hours after the high court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by the federal anti-money laundering agency.

He was sent to judicial custody in the case on April 1 after he was produced in the trial court on expiry of ED custody.

The AAP national convener had questioned before the high court the "timing" of his arrest and said it was in contravention of the basic structure of the Constitution, including democracy, free and fair elections and level-playing field.

The ED opposed the plea and contended that Kejriwal cannot claim "immunity" from arrest on the ground of upcoming elections as law is applied equally to him and an "aam aadmi".

Inputs from PTI

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