Kejriwal seeks extension of interim bail for medical tests | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kejriwal seeks extension of interim bail for medical tests

May 27, 2024 03:55 PM IST

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was released from custody on May 10 to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, said that he needs to undergo tests including PET-CT Scan

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of his 21-day interim bail by one week on medical grounds, citing “alarming” health complications he endured during his recent incarceration in connection with the Delhi excise policy case and the urgent need for medical tests.

Kejriwal said he suffered substantial health deterioration during custody. (ANI)
Kejriwal said he suffered substantial health deterioration during custody. (ANI)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief, who was released from judicial custody on May 10 to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, has said that he needs to undergo diagnostic tests, including a PET-CT Scan, and has requested an extension of the relief for seven days.

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“The appellant [Kejriwal] prays for an extension of his interim bail by a week, during which the appellant can get the prescribed tests done and obtain results of the same. The appellant will get all these tests done in the working week from 3.06.2024 [Monday] to 7.6.2024 [Friday] and then surrender on the weekend, i.e. 9.06.2024,” said the plea.

It added Kejriwal suffered substantial health deterioration during his custody from March 21 to May 10, partly due to the “negligent behaviour” of jail authorities.

The plea said he has lost approximately 6-7 kilograms, which he has been unable to regain despite resuming his previous lifestyle. Moreover, recent medical tests revealed elevated blood glucose and ketone levels, suggesting potential kidney-related complications and damage, Kejriwal said.

Despite these alarming health issues, the application said, Kejriwal has only managed to undergo a health check-up at home by a senior physician from Max Hospitals. Following this examination, the physician prescribed a series of comprehensive tests to assess Kejriwal’s health condition before his surrender.

The application emphasised the importance of these tests, including whole-body PET-CT scans and Holter Monitor Tests, in diagnosing potential ailments such as kidney damage, cardiac irregularities, and even cancer. Early detection, it stressed, is crucial for preventing further progression of these diseases and mitigating associated risks to Kejriwal’s life.

Referring to these pressing health concerns, Kejriwal sought an extension of his interim bail by a week to facilitate the completion of the prescribed tests and obtain their results. He assured the court of his compliance with all conditions of interim bail and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the political process.

“Further, the appellant undertakes to comply with any other conditions which this Hon’ble Court deems fit to impose for the said extended period of one week. The Appellant once again expresses his deepest gratitude and bows down to the majesty of this Court for allowing him to participate in the political process. Another week of interim medical bail will allow the Appellant to take stock of his health complications in a holistic manner before submitting to the authority of the law,” the plea said.

The application is expected to be mentioned before a vacation bench led by Justice AS Oka on Tuesday by Kejriwal’s legal team for a hearing before June 2 when he must surrender.

The court on May 10 granted Kejriwal temporary bail until June 1, rejecting the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s argument that his release for political campaigning would imply preferential treatment for politicians, and highlighting the significance of elections in a democracy.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe pertaining to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy 2021-22. The Delhi high court nixed his challenge to the ED arrest on April 9.

Kejriwal moved the Supreme Court, painting a picture of a politically motivated witch hunt orchestrated by the ruling BJP at the Centre and emphasising the wider implications of his arrest for democratic governance and the rule of law.

Kejriwal was the third AAP leader to be arrested in the case. Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was arrested in the case in February 2023 and remains incarcerated.

AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh was released on bail on April 2 after the Supreme Court asked the ED why Singh should be kept behind bars after serving six months in jail, considering that there does not appear to be any concrete evidence against him, and no money has been recovered linking him to the alleged money laundering offence.

When the Supreme Court on May 16 heard Kejriwal’s petition challenging his ED arrest, it refuted ED’s contention that granting him interim bail and agreeing to examine the legality of his arrest was an “exceptional” exercise. It emphasised that all individuals, irrespective of their status, are entitled to pursue the same legal recourse and remedies.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta maintained that the Constitution gave people the right to approach constitutional courts directly assailing arbitrary or illegal detention. It said the right to seek judicial review of an arrest are fundamental legal entitlement available to every citizen.

The court on that day reiterated its May 10 order, clarifying that Kejriwal would have to surrender on June 2 after the completion of the 21-day interim bail granted to him for political campaigning.

“Our order is very clear. We have fixed a timeline and that’s the direction of the apex court. If the rule of law is to be followed, it has to be followed in compliance with the order. And our order is very clear. We make it clear that we have not made any exception in favour of anyone when we passed this order [of interim bail],” said the bench.

The court was responding to a complaint by solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, highlighting a statement by Kejriwal on May 12 during his roadshows in Delhi that he would not have to go back to jail if Delhi chose to vote for the AAP.

While Mehta compared Kejriwal’s statement to a “slap on the system”, the bench retorted that what the chief minister said could be his “assumptions” since the May 10 order of the court is “very clear” about the period of the temporary bail.

During the hearing of this matter on May 17, ED informed the court that it has uncovered chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators, which the agency claims are crucial in linking the proceeds of crime in the Delhi excise policy case to the AAP’s 2022 Goa election campaign and Kejriwal’s role in the conspiracy.

This disclosure came on the same day the agency filed a fresh supplementary charge sheet in a Delhi trial court, naming Kejriwal and AAP as accused for the first time in the money laundering case related to the excise policy.

On this day, the bench reserved its judgment on Kejriwal’s petition demanding invalidation of his arrest. The bench, during the hearings, delved into the sufficiency of evidence in Kejriwal’s case, besides raising key questions about the fairness of the investigative process and the weight accorded to exculpatory materials.

The Supreme Court is closed for summer break and will reopen on July 8. While vacation benches continue sitting throughout the break, the verdict on Kejriwal’s petition is expected only after regular functioning resumes in July.

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