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Delhi excise policy case: SC reserves order on Kejriwal's plea against arrest

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest and subsequent remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi excise policy case.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said Kejriwal would be at liberty to apply for bail in the meantime as per the law.

"Arguments heard. Judgement reserved," said the bench.

During the hearing, the bench went through the written records of the case and asked the ED to submit a chart to show what new evidence had emerged after former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's arrest to justify its decision to arrest Kejriwal.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju told the apex court that there was evidence of money being sent to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) through hawala channels.

Raju said the ED has also discovered chats between Kejriwal and Hawala operators regarding the alleged proceeds of crime in the case.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, contended that the material being cited by ED now to defend the Chief Minister's arrest was not present during his arrest.

On May 10, the top court had granted him interim bail till June 1 in the money laundering case registered by the ED in connection with the Delhi excise policy. However, it ordered that he shall not visit the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat.

The bench has asked Kejriwal to surrender on June 2.

The apex court was hearing Kejriwal's appeal against a Delhi High Court judgement which 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 was "motivated by extraneous considerations".

On April 9, the High Court had 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 the ED on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe relating to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy 2021-22. 

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