Supreme Court to Deliver Verdict on Kejriwal’s Plea Challenging Arrest in Excise Policy Scam

The Supreme Court is set to deliver its verdict on Friday, July 12, on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest and remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged excise policy scam case. A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta had reserved the judgment on May 17. During the hearing, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Kejriwal and Additional Solicitor General SV Raju represented the Enforcement Directorate.

Kejriwal was arrested in connection with the money-laundering case linked to the Delhi Excise Policy on March 21. He is currently in judicial custody and has been lodged in Tihar Jail. He was granted interim release by the Supreme Court on May 10 for the purposes of campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections. The interim bail expired on June 2. Kejriwal was also arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on June 25 under the Prevention of Corruption Act in relation to the liquor policy case.

The excise case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped. Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities. Subsequently, the ED registered a case under the PMLA. Taking cognisance of a CBI FIR lodged on August 17, 2022, the ED filed its money laundering case on August 22, 2022, to probe the alleged irregularities. Kejriwal had approached the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s judgment delivered on April 9. The Delhi HC had upheld his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The 55-year-old AAP’s national convenor was named as accused in this seventh supplementary charge sheet filed in the case. In a chargesheet filed on July 10, the ED alleged that Kejriwal “directly used” part of the alleged ₹ 100 crore generated from the “kickbacks” of the Delhi excise policy “scam” by staying in a luxury hotel in Goa. Regarding Kejriwal’s role, the 209-page 7th supplementary chargesheet said, “Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi is the kingpin and key conspirator of the Delhi excise scam in collusion with ministers of Delhi govt, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and other persons.” According to news agency PTI, the federal probe agency also said the Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by his government in this context was a “sham”. It said that Kejriwal also “mingled” these proceeds of crime with the funds of the Delhi government.

The AAP, which rules Delhi and Punjab, responded to the ED chargesheet on Tuesday saying the BJP-led government at the Centre was hatching a “big conspiracy” against the party and that the political outfit was being finished off. The ED said it seized some digital devices used by Kejriwal but he refused to open these gadgets and this denial was recorded in writing and captured in the video footage of his questioning. “In his defence, Kejriwal told ED interrogators that his lawyers have advised him that he is “not required” to share the password of these devices,” PTI cited the chargesheet.

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