Kejriwal moves SC, terms arrest as assault on democracy


Assailing the HC verdict, Delhi CM’s plea said the judgement failed to appreciate that the statements made before the probe agency are not held to be gospel truth…reports Asian Lite News

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s dismissal of the plea challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the excise policy case.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed his plea, saying Kejriwal’s arrest is not in contravention of law and remand can’t be termed “illegal”.

The high court further stated that this court is of the opinion that the accused has been arrested and his arrest and remand have to be examined as per law and not as per the timing of elections.

Kejriwal’s challenge to the timing of arrest before general elections in the absence of any mala fide on the part of ED is not sustainable, said the court.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21. The trial court sent him to judicial custody till April 15. ED alleged that the Aam Adami Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged liquor scam.

The agency also claimed that Kejriwal was directly involved in the formation of the excise policy. The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was later scrapped.

While Kejriwal was not named in the FIRs registered by the ED or the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case, his name first found a mention in the ED’s chargesheet, wherein the agency claimed that he allegedly spoke to one of the main accused, Sameer Mahendru, in a video call and asked him to continue working with co-accused and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair.

In the appeal filed in the top court, Kejriwal said his arrest on March 21 after the announcement of the general elections is “obviously motivated by extraneous considerations”.

“The intervention of this court is urgently warranted, as over and above the issue of illegal curtailment of liberty, the petitioner’s arrest also constitutes an unprecedented assault on the tenets of democracy, free and fair elections and federalism, both of which form significant constituents of the basic structure of the Constitution,” it said.

The arrest was made solely relying on subsequent, contradictory and highly belated statements of co-accused who have now turned approvers, it said.

Moreover, such statements and material were in possession of the Enforcement Directorate since the last nine months and still the arrest has been made illegally in the middle of general elections 2024, the plea said.

“The petitioner’s arrest bears serious, irreversible ramifications for the future of electoral democracy in India and if he is not released forthwith to participate in the upcoming elections, it will establish a precedence in law for ruling parties to arrest heads of political opposition on flimsy and vexatious charges before elections, thereby eroding the core principles of our Constitution,” the plea said and sought his immediate release by terming the arrest as illegal.

Assailing the high court verdict, the plea said the judgement failed to appreciate that the statements made before the probe agency are not held to be gospel truth and can always be doubted by the courts.

“The High Court in the impugned judgement failed to appreciate that such statement of co-accused  later- turned approver statements cannot be the starting point for ascertaining the guilt of the accused person, and also the HC has failed to appreciate the procedure adopted by the ED in procuring such statements by coercion,” the plea said.

HC dismisses plea seeking Kejriwal’s removal

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea moved by Delhi’s former Minister Sandeep Kumar, seeking direction to remove Kejriwal from holding the post of Chief Minister.

The Court said, “This is the third petition with identical prayers. We will impose a Rs 50,000 fine on the petitioner. Stop making a mockery of the system. Costs are the only way to curb such petitions.”

The bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora showed displeasure with the petitioner and stated that the Governor will take a call on this.

“We won’t. Don’t give political speeches in court. You’re trying to involve us in political tricket,” it said.

An ex-minister in the Aam Aadmi Party government and former MLA has recently filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from holding the post of Chief Minister.

The petition claims a writ of quo-warranto against Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that he has incurred the incapacity to hold the office of Chief Minister of Delhi after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in Excise Policy case.

Petitioner Sandeep Kumar, former Minister for Women and Child Development, Social Welfare, SC/ST Govt of NCT of Delhi in Aam Aadmi Party government and former MLA from Sultanpur Mazra Vidhanbasa Delhi, through plea stated that Arvind Kejriwal, while lodged in jail, has incurred an incapacity to carry out his constitutional obligations and functions under Articles 239AA (4), 167 (b) and (c) and proviso to sub-section (4) of section 14 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and hence he can no longer function as the Chief Minister of Delhi. (ANI)

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