SC denies Kejriwal interim relief, to hear plea against arrest on April 29

Wednesday 17th April 2024 08:39 EDT

Supreme Court on Monday declined any interim relief to Delhi CM and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and ruled out early hearing of his petition challenging his arrest by Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in an excise policy probe-related money-laundering case.

The CM, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, will be behind bars till at least April 23 with a Delhi court extending his judicial custody. During the hearing, the SC bench needed no persuasion from senior advocate A M Singhvi to examine ED's alleged illegalities in arresting Kejriwal in a case under PMLA, but repeatedly brushed aside his pleas for either interim relief (release from jail) or an early hearing.

Singhvi attributed mala fide on the part of ED in arresting Kejriwal and alleged that it was done in a one-and-a-half-year-old case ahead of general elections to prevent him from campaigning for his party candidates and the INDIA bloc and disturb the level playing field in the polls.

“I can’t say anything after issuance of notice. But I want to show something which will shock the court’s conscience. Whether for interim relief or for a short date, which is the crux of the matter, this is a matter of moments. A lot of selected media leaks everywhere are giving a wrong impression to everyone. Please hear it on Friday,” Singhvi said.

For ED, solicitor general Tushar Mehta protested and said elections were no ground for Kejriwal to seek interim relief. Justice Khanna said he was not aware of any media leak and ordered listing of the petition in the week commencing April 29. “We are giving you a short date but not Friday as you are seeking. We cannot give any date prior to that. In no other case have we given such an early date. You should appreciate that,” the bench said.

Continuing with his persuasion, Singhvi said, “This is an unusual matter, not because the petitioner is the CM. In the eight chargesheets filed by CBI and ED in excise policy related cases, the CM is not named. The investigations start in Sept 2022 and he is arrested in March 2024. In this period, there are 15 statements, nine by Sarath Reddy and six by others. No one names the CM.”

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