Supreme Court To Hear Arvind Kejriwal’s Challenge Against Arrest Today

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Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by ED on March 21

New Delhi:

With less than seven weeks to go for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition against his arrest by Enforcement Directorate will come up in the Supreme Court today. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested on March 21 in a money laundering case linked to the Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy.

This comes after the Delhi High Court denied relief to Mr Kejriwal on Tuesday. Rejecting his petition, the high court said the central probe agency had submitted material to suggest that he had allegedly conspired to formulate the policy and was involved in demanding claimed kickbacks of Rs 100 crore.

The day after the verdict, the AAP leader approached the Supreme Court for relief. However, he could not get an urgent hearing. Then, the court was closed for Eid and the weekend. Today, a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta will hear the Chief Minister’s petition around 10.30 am.

In his appeal against the high court ruling, Mr Kejriwal has said his arrest after the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls was “motivated by extraneous considerations”. The appeal says that a sitting Chief Minister had been arrested in a “motivated manner” in the middle of the election cycle.

Mr Kejriwal has said that his arrest constitutes an “unprecedented assault on the tenets of democracy” based on “free and fair elections” and “federalism”.

The Delhi Chief Minister, who was arrested after he skipped multiple summonses, is the third senior AAP leader to be arrested in the case. Earlier, his former deputy Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested in the case. Mr Singh is now out on bail.

The ED’s money laundering investigation in based on a 2022 CBI case in connection with alleged irregularities in the excise policy. The CBI case registered the case on a complaint by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.

It is alleged that top AAP leaders hatched a criminal conspiracy while preparing the liquor policy and deliberately left loopholes to favour some licensees. The liquor policy was withdrawn nine months after its implementation amid allegations of corruption and a political row.

The AAP has denied the allegations against its leaders and stressed that ED officials did not find a penny during its raids.

“They are talking about crores. But ED and CBI have not found even a rupee of illegal money. Witnesses have been pressured to change their statements and say what ED wants them to,” Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has said. “This is not about money laundering. This is the biggest political conspiracy in India’s history,” he has said.

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