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Delhi Excise Policy case: ED opposes Arvind Kejriwal's plea against arrest; says evidence reveals CM's role in crime

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's plea against his arrest and said that he did not cooperate with the central agency despite multiple summons issued to him.
The ED told the apex court that Arvind Kejriwal was avoiding interrogation by not remaining present before the investigating officer despite being summoned nine times.
"Kejriwal, by his conduct, has, himself, contributed and aided the investigating officer regarding the existence of the necessity to arrest, apart from the material in possession of the IO, to form the satisfaction that he is guilty of the offence of money laundering," ED stated in its affidavit.
The ED said that the agency has been able to recover key evidence that directly reveals the role of Kejriwal in processes and activities relating to the proceeds of crime.
"A total of approximately 170 mobile phones were changed/destroyed by 36 persons (accused and other persons involved) during the period of the scam and when the scam and irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy of 2021-22 became public. In this manner, the crucial digital evidence of the scam and money trail have been actively destroyed by the accused and other persons involved in this scam. Despite such active and criminal destruction of evidence, the agency has been able to recover key evidence that directly reveals the role of the petitioner in the process and activities relating to the proceeds of crime," the agency said.
It further added, "The conclusion of the destruction of mobile phones is based on the fact that these mobile phones were not recovered during intensive searches conducted by ED and then on examination of these persons, they were unable to produce them or produced them in a completely or significantly formatted state."
"For investigation, Kejriwal was asked to provide a password to his mobile phones during the search on March 21, 2024 and then during ED custody, the same was asked again and his reply was recorded in his statement, wherein he refused to share the same. Even his statements during custody would reveal that despite being confronted with materials, the petitioner chose to give completely evasive answers," the affidavit read.
ED further said that Kejriwal has been "arrested bona fide" and not for any mala fide or extraneous reasons.
"It is categorically denied that the arrest was mala fide," it added.
"The arrest of a person, however high he may be, for the commission of an offence based on material, can never violate the concept of free and fair elections. Treating a politician differently from an ordinary criminal in a matter of arrest would amount to arbitrary and irrational exercise of the power of arrest, which would violate the principle of equality enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution," the affidavit of ED stated.
The agency, in its affidavit, said that the investigation of this liquor scam has to be seen in the context of large-scale destruction of evidence.
Kejriwal had approached the top court challenging his arrest by ED and his subsequent remand in the excise policy case. The apex court had earlier asked the Central Agency to file its response to Kejriwal's plea.
The Delhi CM had challenged a Delhi High Court judgment that 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, contended that his arrest after the announcement of the general elections was "motivated by extraneous considerations."
His appeal stated that the sitting Chief Minister has been arrested in a "motivated manner" in the middle of the election cycle, especially after the declaration of the schedule for the Lok Sabha election in 2024.
On April 9, the High Court 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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