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Delhi Court grants time to Arvind Kejriwal to file response to ED's reply

New Delhi: The Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday granted time to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to file a rejoinder on the replies filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on his two revisions against summons issued to him. The trial court had issued a summons to Kejriwal on two complaints filed by the ED.

Special Judge Rakesh Syal, after hearing submissions of counsels appeared for Kejriwal, granted two weeks to file rejoinders and for arguments on revisions.

The matters have been listed on May 14 for further hearing.

Advocates Rajiv Mohan, Mudit Jain, Mohd. Irshad appeared for Arvind Kejriwal. For ED special public prosecutor N K Matta and Simon Benjamin appeared.

It was submitted by the counsels that they could not get the instructions from Kejriwal as he has been arrested in the Delhi Excise policy case.

They need two weeks to file a rejoinder and for arguments.

The ED has already filed replies to two revisions challenging the issuance of summons on the complaints filed by the Agency in the Delhi Excise policy case.

Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested by the ED on March 21. He is in custody till May 7. The Rouse Avenue Court on March 15, refused to grant a stay on summons issued to CM Arvind Kejriwal on complaints filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Kejriwal has challenged the summons issued by the court after taking cognizance of two complaints filed by the ED for avoidance of the summons issued to him.

Earlier, it was submitted by Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta counsel for Kejriwal that there was no disobedience by Arvind Kejriwal. A person can be summoned only when his non-appearance is intentional.

He replied to each summons and informed that he could not come due to responsibility as the Chief Minister, senior Gupta had argued. The senior advocate also argued that the revisionist was not given show cause notice by the ED before filing these complaints.He is a public servant therefore a prior sanction was required to prosecute him which was not obtained, the Senior advocate argued.

"I (Kejriwal) have not failed, I mentioned the reasons for not appearing. I went to the CBI office in 2023. The purpose and reasons for calling me personally were not cleared by the ED," Senior counsel submitted.

He also submitted that summons were deliberately sent for dates on which he was busy with public functions like budget preparation. The trial court has not considered my replies to ED that "I can't come because of public events like the budget. Can it be called intentional?"

Advocate Rajiv Mohan argued on the second revision moved by Kejriwal. It was submitted that the summons were issued in haste without application of judicial mind. Advocate Rajiv Mohan argued that the trial court issued summons on the same day after taking cognizance. The trial court also did not consider the responses by Kejriwal to the summons issued by the ED, he added.

The counsel for Kejriwal said that to prosecute him under 174 CRPC, there should be disobedience and intention. The court first decides whether there is any disobedience or not. The trial court did not consider this aspect. A person is being made an accused and order is passed cryptically, the counsel argued.

He further submitted that the Trial court considered the version of the complainant as gospel truth. The order of summoning was passed without mindful consideration and applying judicial mind. The word in person is not in the form for issuing summons prescribed by the legislature, the counsel submitted. This form can't be interpolated.

"Due to failure of justice an ordinary citizen is an accused before the court as judicial mind was not applied by the court," Rajiv Mohan argued.

There was an interpolation in the form, incorporating the word in person. A person can not be summoned in person to produce evidence, he submitted.

On the other hand, ASG S V Raju opposed the submissions by the counsels for the accused and submitted that whether disobedience is intentional or not is a matter of trial. This revision is against the order of summoning, he added.

ASG submitted that AD, DD, and JD are legally empowered to summon any person to produce evidence.

If the evidence asked for is not given, then that is intentional disobedience, ASG Raju Submitted. The summons were following the law. Any person can be summoned in person under PMLA, ASG added.

There was intentional disobedience as he attended the CBI office in 2023 but did not wish to attend the ED office. He can travel to various states for campaigns but can't come to the ED office for one day, he submitted.

ASG also argued that it is immaterial that weather you (Kejriwal ) were summoned as a witness or accused. There was clear disobedience on the part of the revisionist, he added.

Kejriwal while challenging the summons in sessions court had submitted that there was no intentional disobedience on his part and he always explained the reason which to the date has not been controverted or found false by the department.

Kejriwal through plea had sought the direction of the sessions court to stay proceedings adjudication before the trial court.

The Enforcement Directorate had moved that a second complaint has been filed against Arvind Kejriwal under Section 190 (1)(a) CrPC r/w section 200 CrPC 1973 r/w section 174 IPC, 1860 r/w section 63 (4) of PMLA, 2002 for non-attendance in compliance with Section 50, PMLA, 2002.

In the first ED's complaint, Rouse Avenue Court on February 7, 2024, took cognizance of the Enforcement Directorate's recent complaint filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not complying with the summons issued by the central probe agency in the Delhi liquor policy money laundering case.

According to the ED, the agency wants to record Kejriwal's statement in the case on issues like the formulation of policy, meetings held before it was finalized, and allegations of bribery.

Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena's move to order a probe into alleged irregularities in the regime prompted the scrapping of the policy.

The AAP has accused Saxena's predecessor, Anil Baijal, of sabotaging the move with a few last-minute changes that resulted in lower-than-expected revenues.

Manish Sisodia, who was the then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested by the CBI on February 26 following several rounds of questioning.

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