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Delhi HC reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by ED
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Photo courtesy: Facebook/Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi HC reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by ED

| @indiablooms | 03 Apr 2024, 09:22 pm

New Delhi/IBNS/UNI: The Delhi High Court Wednesday reserved its order on the plea of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case related to the alleged liquor policy scam.

A single bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma after hearing lengthy arguments from both sides reserved its order which will be pronounced on Thursday.

The High Court was hearing the plea of Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by ED and the trial court order remanding him to probe the agency's custody.

Kejriwal was arrested on the night of March 21. The trial court had on March 22 remanded him to six days of ED custody which was extended by a further four days.

On April 1, he was remanded to judicial custody till April 15 by the trial court. He is currently in judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appearing on behalf of ED told the court that the investigation involving Kejriwal is at a nascent stage.

He also pointed out that Kejriwal has not challenged the latest order remanding him to 15 days of judicial custody.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal argued that the Enforcement Directorate did not comply with Section 50 PMLA which empowers it to issue the summons and collect evidence.

Singhvi said, "It is clear that section 50 involves an inquiry. As it's an inquiry that enables ED to make up its mind about arrest and prosecution. No attempt is made to record section 50 statements, even at my residence."

The senior advocate alleged that the ED wants to "find out" the role of Chief Minister.

Singhvi contended that ED forced the approvers Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy, and Magunta Reddy to make statements against Kejriwal. He further alleged that two approvers even have links with the ruling party.

Singhvi also questioned the necessity of arrest amid upcoming general elections.

“The necessity to arrest immediately before elections...the only object is to insult, humiliate and disable...So that the petitioner is unable to participate in the election process and to try to demolish the party before the first vote is cast," Singhvi argued.

Singhvi contended that Kejriwal is the Chief Minister of Delhi and he cannot run away. He cannot be said to be at a flight risk, given his deep roots in society, so where is the need to keep him in custody?

ASG argued that no calculation was done as to why 5 percent profit was converted to 12 percent in the new policy. "The only inference is that it was done so that 7 percent of the portion is used for giving kickbacks. The fact that there is a scam is beyond doubt today.

The ASG said evidence shows that kickbacks were used for the election campaign of AAP in Goa.

The Beneficiary of Kickback proceeds was AAP. The offence is committed by AAP. "AAP is a company under section 70 of PMLA. You may not be a company but you will be deemed to be a company if you're an association of individuals. AAP is an association of individuals, ASG said.

The ED alleged that Kejriwal had skipped nine summons issued to him by the agency. Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are also accused in the case. Sanjay Singh was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Tuesday after 6 months remaining in custody.

Following his arrest, Kejriwal promptly moved an urgent petition before the Supreme Court challenging his arrest. However, the same was withdrawn later.

Moreover, he has previously moved the Delhi High Court (division bench) challenging the summons issued to him by the central probe agency.

He also filed an application seeking interim protection. The matter is fixed for a hearing in Delhi High Court on April 22.

The ED has alleged that Arvind Kejriwal is the "kingpin" of the Delhi excise scam and is directly involved in the use of proceeds of crime accounting for over Rs. 100 crores.

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