Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Challenges Arrest in Supreme Court Over Excise Policy Case

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal challenges his arrest in SC over Delhi excise policy case, with ED alleging him as the "kingpin" of the scam. The case highlights the ongoing power struggle between AAP and BJP.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Challenges Arrest in Supreme Court Over Excise Policy Case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Challenges Arrest in Supreme Court Over Excise Policy Case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has challenged his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Supreme Court over the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy. Kejriwal, who was arrested on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe related to alleged irregularities in the excise policy, has been lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody since April 1 and is scheduled to remain there until May 7.

During the Supreme Court hearing on Kejriwal's petition, his lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the arrest was politically motivated and that the ED's evidence against him is questionable. Singhvi disputed the statements made by approvers and said Kejriwal was not named in the CBI FIR or the ED's Enforcement Case Information Report. The ED, in its affidavit, has said that Kejriwal's non-cooperation with summons and his alleged involvement in money laundering were grounds for his arrest.

The Supreme Court questioned Kejriwal's failure to submit a bail plea before the trial court, to which Singhvi responded that he had a right to make legal mistakes. The court also asked why Kejriwal had not appeared before the ED despite repeated summons for recording his statement under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Singhvi argued that the non-recording of his client's statement under Section 50 is not a defense to his arrest and that other materials also do not establish his guilt.

Why this matters: The arrest of Delhi's Chief Minister by a central investigative agency has significant political implications, especially with the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for next year. The case also highlights the ongoing power struggle between the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government and the BJP-led central government.

The Supreme Court hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on Tuesday. The ED has refuted Kejriwal's contentions, calling him the "kingpin and key conspirator" of the Delhi excise scam, and highlighting his alleged evasion of investigation for nearly six months. The case centers around claims that liquor companies played a role in shaping the Delhi excise policy of 2021-22, which was later discarded.

Key Takeaways

  • Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal challenges his arrest by ED in Supreme Court.
  • Kejriwal arrested on March 21 in money laundering probe over Delhi excise policy.
  • Kejriwal's lawyer argues arrest is politically motivated, evidence against him questionable.
  • SC questions Kejriwal's failure to seek bail from trial court, non-appearance before ED.
  • Arrest has significant political implications with Lok Sabha elections next year.