SC questions timing of Kejriwal’s arrest


The bench stressed the importance of “Life and liberty are exceedingly important. You can’t deny that,” as they questioned Solicitor General S V Raju…reports Asian Lite News

In a courtroom drama that unfolded on Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed its focus towards the Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking clarification on the timing behind the arrest of Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. The fiery exchange came amidst a plea lodged by Kejriwal against his arrest in the Delhi excise policy case, with the apex court asserting that liberty is “very exceedingly important”.

“Liberty is very exceedingly important, you can’t deny that. The last question is with regard to the timing of the arrest, which they (Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer) have pointed out, the timing of the arrest, soon before the general elections,” Justice Sanjiv Khanna told ASG SV Raju.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21, stirring controversy and raising eyebrows across political circles. The ongoing legal saga saw the Delhi High Court recently upholding Kejriwal’s arrest, citing his alleged non-cooperation with the investigative proceedings.

Prior to yesterday’s courtroom observation, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, alleged that MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy (MSR) was pressured into levelling accusations against Kejriwal, purportedly in exchange for bail for his son, Raghav.

“MSR’s sudden change of heart, under duress, led to a false narrative implicating Kejriwal. The sequence of events raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi further highlighted the peculiar timeline of events, juxtaposing Kejriwal’s arrest with the earlier detention of his aide, Vijay Nair, in November 2022.

The ED has accused AAP leaders of receiving Rs 100 crore as kickbacks from a group of politicians and businessmen, called South Group, for making the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy favourable to their business interests.

On Monday, Singhvi reiterated the fundamental principle of justice, arguing that Kejriwal’s alleged disregard for summonses did not warrant his deprivation of liberty.  “You (ED) have to demonstrate the necessity of arrest based on material available with the investigating agency,” he said.

“ED’s power to arrest is not an obligation to arrest. There must be a reason to believe, there has to be some new material or a link that connects Kejriwal directly or something. They arrested him (Kejriwal) after the model code of conduct was in place. He was neither accused nor suspect till March 2024,” he added.

Court dismisses Sisodia’s bail plea

Meanwhile, the Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday dismissed the second bail petition of AAP leader Manish Sisodia in both CBI and ED cases on the Delhi excise policy case.

He had sought regular bail in ED and CBI cases on the grounds of delay in trial. This is the second time when his bail plea has been dismissed by the court. His first bail plea in the CBI case was rejected on March 31, 2023. On April 28, the trial court rejected his bail application in the ED case.

Special judge Kaveri Baweja dismissed the bail plea of Manish Sisodia after considering the submissions and material on record. The detailed bail order is yet to be uploaded.

Sisodia has been in custody since 26 February 2023 after arrest by the CBI. Thereafter, he was arrested by the CBI. On April 20, the court reserved an order for the regular bail pleas of Manish Sisodia.

He sought regular bail in CBI and ED cases related to the Delhi excise policy case. While opposing the bail plea the CBI said that while rejecting his bail, the court had made certain observations. His bail was also dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Advocate Vivek Jain appeared for Manish Sisodia, Zoheb Hossain for ED, Pankaj Gupta for the CBI. CBI’s Prosecutor Pankaj Gupta while opposing the bail said that Sisodia is the main accused in the case, he is not entitled to bail.

He further said that the accused is a powerful political person. The investigation is at the nascent stage. It was further submitted that there are allegations of destruction of evidence and misuse of power which may hamper the probe.

Pankaj Gupta referred to former PM Manmohan Singh who said that corruption is cancer for the society.

On April 6, While opposing the plea the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said that there was no delay caused on the part of the Prosecution. Rather it was caused by the accused persons by filing frivolous applications in the Delhi excise policy case, the ED said before the Rouse Avenue court.

The main thrust of arguments by counsel for Manish Sisodia was the delay in trial. It was argued that trial proceedings are going at a snail’s pace.

ED’s special counsel Zoheb Hossain opposed the argument of delay. Hossain submitted that the trial has not proceeded at a snail’s pace and there has been no delay from the prosecution side.

There are 95 applications moved by 31 accused persons, Hossain argued. “There is a delay by the accused persons and not by the Prosecution,” Hossain Submitted.

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