ED opposes interim bail for Kejriwal


ED while filing an affidavit in Delhi’s excise policy case said a politician can claim no special status higher than that of an ordinary citizen…reports Asian Lite News

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Thursday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the grant of interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and said a politician cannot claim a higher status than an ordinary citizen and was not entitled to differential treatment.

ED while filing an affidavit in Delhi’s excise policy case said a politician can claim no special status higher than that of an ordinary citizen and is as much liable to be arrested and detained for committing offences as any other citizen.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta had hinted of granting interim bail to Kejriwal to enable him to campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi. However, it had also said that if interim bail is granted, Kejriwal would not be allowed to discharge any official duties as Chief Minister.

On Wednesday it said that it may pass an order on interim bail to Kejriwal on Friday.

“Right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right,” ED told the bench in its fresh affidavit.

No political leader has been granted interim bail for campaigning even though he is not the contesting candidate, said the ED, adding that even a contesting candidate cannot be granted interim bail for his own campaigning.

The Central agency said that there is absolutely no principle that justifies giving a differential treatment to a politician for campaigning over a farmer or a businessman who wishes to pursue his vocation.

“Grant of interim bail merely for political campaigning would militate against and will be discriminatory to the rule of equality as work/business/profession or activity of every citizen is equally important to him or her,” it added.

ED further stated that “any special concession in favour of the arrestee enlarging him on interim bail for campaigning in the general election would amount to anathema to the rule of law and equality and create a precedent which would permit all unscrupulous politicians to commit crimes, avoid investigation under the garb of election and upon arrested, seek interim bail to campaign for election.”

It would create two separate classes in the country viz. ordinary people who are bound by the rule of law as well as the laws of the country and politicians who can seek exemption from the laws with the hope of securing interim bail to campaign for elections, the agency submitted.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kejriwal had challenged a Delhi High Court judgement that dismissed his plea against arrest by the ED and his subsequent remand in the excise policy case.

Kejriwal, while filing an appeal in the apex court had contended that his arrest after the announcement of the General Elections is “motivated by extraneous considerations”.

On April 9, the High Court dismissed his plea for release from jail and rejected his argument of political vendetta amid the looming Lok Sabha elections.

The High Court had said that Kejriwal’s absence from nine ED summons over six months undermined any claims of special privilege as Chief Minister, suggesting his arrest was an inevitable consequence of his non-cooperation.

Kejriwal was arrested by ED on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe relating to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy 2021-22. (ANI)

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