Delhi Court rejects Kejriwal appeal to stay ED summons in excise case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Delhi Court rejects Kejriwal appeal to stay ED summons in excise case

Mar 15, 2024 06:47 PM IST

Additional solicitor general S. V. Raju, appearing for ED, argued that this is not the stage to test whether Kejriwal had disobeyed the summons intentionally or not

New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Friday refused to stay the summons issued to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal by the magistrate court on the complaints filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly disobeying the summons issued by the agency in the Delhi liquor excise policy case.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (HT file photo.)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (HT file photo.)

“The application seeking stay on summons has been dismissed …. He can move an application seeking exemption before the trial court”, said special Judge Rakesh Syal.

Kejriwal had approached the sessions court challenging the orders passed by additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra summoning him to appear before the court in person on March 16.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta and advocate Rajiv Mohan, appearing for Kejriwal, submitted before the court that the summons were not issued to him in the personal capacity, but in official capacity as chief minister as they were sent on his official email ID and to his official address.

They further averred that he had responded to the summons issued to him, pointing out that he was not able to appear due to official exigency, therefore he had not skipped the summons wilfully. However, his reply to the summons were neither considered by the agency nor by the magistrate.

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It was also submitted by the lawyers that the court did not apply its judicial mind as it had not initiated any inquiry under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) into the complaints and took the complaint as gospel truth.

Section 202 of the CrPC grants power to the court that it may conduct an inquiry, if it thinks fit, to ensure that there are sufficient grounds to issue summons while taking cognisance of a complaint.

“The court is believing the version of the complainant despite the fact that you have the power under 202 CrPC to conduct an independent inquiry….You have not conducted the inquiry and took the averments of complainant as gospel truth”, they added.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) S. V. Raju, appearing for ED, argued that this is not the stage to test whether Kejriwal had disobeyed the summons intentionally or not, that is to be decided in the trial.

He further submitted that a prima facie case of wilful disobedience is made out as Kejriwal has given excuses for not appearing before the agency and asked whether he was being called as a witness or an accused in the case trying to get information about the investigation.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal moves Delhi court over summons in ED case

“He has been asking in what capacity is he being summoned….He wants to know the details of the investigation, we cannot divulge these information at this stage”, Raju argued.

Raju further submitted that Kejriwal not appearing before the agency is also causing delay in completing the probe in the money laundering case related to the alleged Delhi liquor excise policy scam.

“We want to complete the investigation in the case but you are not joining the probe because there is an oblique motive is that if we will not appear then Manish Sisodia will get bail”, he said.

The court after hearing the arguments of both the parties refused to stay the summons.

The court has listed the application seeking to set aside the summons and stay the proceedings before the magistrate court for hearing on March 30.

ED had filed two complaints on February 3 and March 6 against Kejriwal seeking initiation of prosecution under section 174 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for not appearing before the investigators despite repeated summons issued to him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Under section 174 of the IPC, the person not appearing on the summons issued by a public servant shall be punished with imprisonment up to one month and a fine of 500.

The federal investigating agency has till date issued eight summons to Kejriwal, asking him to join the investigation being conducted in the alleged money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor excise policy scam - on March 4, February 26, February 19, February 2, January 18, January 3, and December 22 and November 2 last year.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra took cognisance on both the complaints filed by the agency and issued summons to Kejriwal to appear before the court.

The ED, in its complaint, submitted that he has no legal right to know whether he is being summoned as a witness or an accused in the Delhi liquor excise policy case and blamed him for intentionally omitting to obey ED’s summons and for raising “frivolous” objections.

The agency added that Kejriwal was summoned to join the probe in the alleged Delhi liquor excise policy case and to unearth the role of several people, including himself, involved and trace the proceeds of the alleged crime.

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