Arvind Kejriwal arrest: Delhi high court to hear today plea against ED summonses in excise case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Arvind Kejriwal arrest: Delhi high court to hear today plea against ED summonses in excise case

Apr 22, 2024 08:29 AM IST

In the plea, Arvind Kejriwal has raised several issues, including whether a political party is covered under the anti-money laundering law.

The Delhi high court on Monday, April 22, will to hear a petition of chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal challenging nine summonses issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and his subsequent arrest and remand by the probe agency in connection with the excise policy-linked money laundering case.

Delhi chief minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal leaves the Rouse Avenue Court (PTI file photo)
Delhi chief minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal leaves the Rouse Avenue Court (PTI file photo)

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Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21, after the high court refused to grant him interim protection from coercive action which had approached the court in the wake of the summonses issued asking him to appear before it. The AAP national convenor has also challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act with respect to arrest, questioning and grant of bail.

In the plea, Arvind Kejriwal has raised several issues, including whether a political party is covered under the anti-money laundering law. It claimed that the arbitrary procedure under PMLA was being used to create a non-level playing field for the general elections to "skew the electoral process in the favour of the ruling party at the Centre".

A bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain will be hearing the matter.

A day after his arrest, Arvind Kejriwal approached the high court on March 23, claiming the ED's action violated his fundamental rights and was motivated by politics. However, the high court on April 9, dismissed the plea saying that the arrest was legal as he “left little option” with the probe agency other than arresting him following his decision to skip multiple summons.

It had ruled that the Enforcement Directorate had sufficient materials to justify the arrest of Kejriwal. The court said the agency could not be blamed for choosing the timing of the chief minister's arrest as he pushed it to a point where it had no other option.

Kejriwal later approached the Supreme Court challenging the order, where it issued a notice to the probe agency and posted the plea to hear after April 29, defying interim release to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court has extended the judicial custody of the AAP leader, who is currently lodged at the Tihar Jail, till April 23.

What is the Delhi excise policy case?

The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22. The policy was later scrapped after Delhi lieutenant governor VK Saxena sought a CBI probe into the policy alleging irregularities.

According to a chargesheet filed by the CBI and ED, some AAP leaders accepted 100 crore as kickbacks from a group of politicians and liquor businessmen to grant licences to them under the excise policy. There was an involvement of certain ‘South Group’ in the alleged irregularities, the central agencies said. The chargesheet also mentioned that all the accused in the case were allegedly in touch with Arvind Kejriwal to formulate the excise policy that resulted in undue benefits to them in return for which they paid kickbacks to the party.

(With inputs from agencies)

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