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"Arvind Kejriwal will continue as chief minister": AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj

New Delhi: Amid continuing protests against the arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, AAP leader and minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Saturday said all party MLAs and the councilors arrived at a consensus following consultations that the former will continue to hold the reins of the national capital despite being in ED custody.

Kejriwal, who was arrested on Thursday night, was sent to the custody of the Directorate of Enforcement till March 28 by Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court, on Friday, for alleged money laundering in connection with the excise policy 'scam'.

Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Bhardwaj, who was detained along with fellow minister Atishi while leading an AAP protest in the national capital against Kejriwal's arrest on Friday, said, "Arvind Kejriwal will do whatever people want. He has always made his decisions in public interest and considering the greater good. Before making this decision (to run the affairs of Delhi from ED custody, he got in touch with all his MLAs, held meetings, and met the councilors. We also spoke with people in all wards. Everyone said Arvind Kejriwal should continue as the CM, as there is no rule that stops him from running the government from jail (ED custody)."

On the ongoing raids by ED at the premises of sitting MLA Gulab Singh Yadav, Bhardwaj claims the action was merely aimed at scaring the Opposition into silence.

Accusing the BJP-led Centre of putting the entire Opposition behind bars, the AAP leader said, "People not just in the country but across the world are seeing how the BJP-led government at the Centre is busy putting the entire Opposition in jail. This country is following in the path of Russia (referring to alleged suppression of Opposition leaders in the country). Such occurrences are also commonplace in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and North Korea. Now, India is following in the same path. The largest democracy in the world is now drifting towards dictatorship, where the basic rights of people are denied and the Opposition is muzzled and suppressed."

"Our top 4 leaders (Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh) are in jail under false cases. Gulab Singh Yadav, our party in-charge of Gujarat, a state where are fielding candidates to contest the Lok Sabha polls, is being raided today. I know that in the coming days, more AAP leaders as well as those from other parties will be raided till the entire Opposition is scared into silence," he added.

The ED raids were underway at the residence of the AAP MLA, Gulab Singh Yadav, from Delhi's Matiala seat.

The comes two days after the central agency arrested Delhi CM Kejriwal, in the excise policy case.

Meanwhile, ED, which was given the custody of Delhi CM Kejriwal until March 28, has alleged that the Aam Adami Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged excise policy scam.

ED, which was given the custody of Delhi CM Kejriwal until March 28, has alleged that the Aam Adami Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged excise policy scam.

"Part of the proceeds of crime to the tune of cash of Rs 45 crore approx. has been utilised in the election campaign of AAP in Goa Assembly elections 2022," the ED alleged.

The agency further claimed that Kejriwal was directly involved in the formation of the Excise policy.

"Arvind Kejriwal has also been intrinsically involved in the entire conspiracy of the Delhi liquor Scam wherein the policy was drafted and implemented in a manner wherein certain private persons were favoured and benefitted in a quid pro quo of receiving kickbacks," the probe agency said in its remand note.

ED also claimed that due to the actions of Arvind Kejriwal involving excise policy formulation, hatching the conspiracy of kickbacks with the South Group members, and eventually using part of the proceeds of crime generated out of this scheduled offence in the election campaign of AAP for the Goa Assembly elections, it is clear that all these activities were not only done with his knowledge but also his active collusion.

Delhi CM Kejriwal was arrested by the central agency after he skipped multiple summons by the investigation agency, nine in total, calling them "illegal."

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was later scrapped.

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