Arvind Kejriwal leaves the Rouse Avenue Court where he was produced in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi. (File Photo: PTI)

The Delhi High Court (HC) on Tuesday rejected Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The plea against the remand order passed by the trial court, sending him to ED custody, was also rejected.

This means that the Delhi CM is to remain in Tihar jail until further notice.

“The court is of the view that the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal was not in contravention of legal provisions. The remand can’t be held to be illegal,” said Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma.

The Delhi CM will move Supreme Court against the HC order, according to news reports.

The court said that material collected by ED reveals that Kejriwal conspired with others and was involved in the formulation of excise policy and used proceeds of crime.

“He is also allegedly involved in a personal capacity in the formulation of policy and demanding kickbacks and secondly in the capacity of national convener of AAP,” the judge said.

The court said there was evidence to show that the money or proceeds of crime were used for campaigning in the 2022 Goa legislative Assembly elections.

Kejriwal has claimed that two of the approvers, who have made statements against him, are linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Of three statements connecting Kejriwal to the alleged kickbacks in the case, two were of businessman Sarath Chandra Reddy and his father Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, the Lok Sabha (LS) candidate for the Telugu Desam Party, which is a BJP ally.

Kejriwal’s counsel had questioned the veracity of Reddy’s statement, saying that his company Aurobindo Pharma had paid crores of rupees to the BJP through electoral bonds.

“In this court’s opinion, who gives tickets to contesting elections to whom or who purchases electoral bonds for what purpose is not the concern of this court as this court is required to apply the law and the evidence before it as it is and in the context in which it has been placed on record,” Justice Sharma said.

Kejriwal had also questioned the timing of his arrest just ahead of the LS elections.

“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,” it said.

The court also rejected the allegations that Kejriwal had been arrested because of political vendetta by the central government.

“Political considerations cannot be brought before the court as they are not relevant… The court must remain vigilant that it is not influenced by extraneous factors.”

The judge also said that the court was concerned with constitutional morality and not political morality.

“Judges are bound by law and not political considerations,” the court observed.

When Kejriwal said that he could have been interviewed via video conferencing, the court said “it cannot be as per the convenience of the accused”.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the ED in the Delhi liquor excise policy case. He was sent to Tihar jail on April 1.


First Published: Apr 09 2024 | 8:18 PM IST

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