Kejriwal Granted Interim Bail, Walks Out of Tihar Jail with Conditions

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court in a money laundering case, allowing him to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal was released from Tihar Jail with conditions, including not visiting his office or contacting witnesses, and must surrender on June 2.

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Kejriwal Granted Interim Bail, Walks Out of Tihar Jail with Conditions

Kejriwal Granted Interim Bail, Walks Out of Tihar Jail with Conditions

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal walked out of Tihar Jail on Friday after being granted interim bail by the Supreme Court in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. The bail, valid until June 1, comes with several conditions, including a prohibition on visiting the Chief Minister's office and the Delhi Secretariat.

Why this matters: The Supreme Court's decision to grant interim bail to Kejriwal has significant implications for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, as it allows him to campaign and potentially influence the outcome. This development also highlights the complexities of India's judicial system and its approach to handling high-profile cases involving politicians.

Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate nearly two months ago, left Tihar Jail in his convoy, accompanied by his wife Sunita Kejriwal, daughter Harshita, and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak. A large gathering of Aam Aadmi Party workers and leaders had assembled outside the prison complex to welcome him.

The Supreme Court imposed five conditions while granting interim bail to Kejriwal: he cannot visit the Chief Minister's Office or the Delhi Secretariat, he will not contact any witness in the case, he will surrender on June 2 after the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections, and he is free to campaign for the remaining phases of the elections.

The court's decision triggered a wave of jubilation across the INDIA bloc parties, with Kejriwal's AAP terming it a "triumph of truth." Kejriwal's wife, Sunita, tweeted in Hindi, "Hanuman ji ki jai. This is the victory of democracy. It is the result of the prayers and blessings of millions of people. Many thanks to everyone."

The Enforcement Directorate had opposed Kejriwal's bail plea, arguing that granting bail to the Delhi Chief Minister would amount to "special treatment of politicians" as a class different from ordinary citizens. However, the Supreme Court emphasized that interim bail is granted on a case-by-case basis, considering individual facts and circumstances.

The court clarified, "Power to grant interim bail is commonly exercised in a number of cases. Interim bail is granted in the facts of each case. This case is not an exception." The bench also noted that interim bail is a temporary relief that can be granted under compelling circumstances, even when regular bail is not justified.

Upon his release, Kejriwal is scheduled to visit the Hanuman temple at Connaught Place on Saturday at 11 am, followed by a press meeting at the AAP office in Delhi at 1 pm. He will also hold road shows in South Delhi's Mehrauli at 4 pm and East Delhi's Krishna Nagar at 6 pm as part of his campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The AAP is contesting all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab independently, while in Delhi, the party has a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress and is contesting four out of the seven seats. The elections in Delhi are scheduled for May 25, and Punjab will vote on June 1 in the last phase to elect 13 members to parliament.

Kejriwal's arrest on March 21 came nearly 1.5 years after the investigation into the Delhi Liquor Policy case began in August 2022. The Supreme Court, in granting interim bail, observed that Kejriwal was not a threat to society as he had no criminal antecedents and took a "more holistic and libertarian view" considering the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal must surrender himself back to judicial custody on June 2, two days before the election results are announced on June 4.