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Excise Case: Delhi HC reserves order on Arvind Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest by ED

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved the order on plea moved Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by Enforcement Directorate in Excise Policy money laundering case.

After hearing at length, the bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma on Wednesday reserved the order on petition moved by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest and also ED remand granted by the trial court.

Appearing for Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted that this case reeks of timing issue. The timing issue ensures that the petitioner doesn't participate in the democratic process and that his party is destroyed.The timing reeks of democracy issue, level playing field issue. You are clearly doing an arrest without any enquiry, statement etc. It's unique that there's no Sec 50 here.

You are clearly doing an arrest without any enquiry, statement etc. It's unique that there's no Section 50 here. Necessity to arrest is an important facet of the statute. But, here, your necessity to arrest was with ulterior motive. The only object is to humiliate, insult and disable the petitioner.

After one and a quarter year of investigation, they want to find the role of the Chief Minister, submitted Kejriwal lawyer Sr Adv Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

While opposing Kejriwal plea, Enforcement Directorate lawyer ASG SV Raju submitted that the arguements made for petitioner has been argued as if it is a bail application not a plea for quashing of the arrest. The investigation in the matter is at a nascent stage and as far as Mr Kejriwal is concerned, the investigation is not over, said ED while opposed Kejriwal plea challenging his arrest.

"No remand order has been challenged..I'm not even sure if he can challenge these orders when he says that I am conceding the remand. They're playing hot and cold at the same time. You can't ride two horses at the same time. You can't challenge the remand on one hand and say I accept the remand on other," argued ASG Raju for ED.

Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday filed the reply before Delhi High Court opposing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal plea challenging his arrest and said he was given multiple opportunities to cooperate with the investigation being conducted by the ED in the present case by issuing nine summons. However, he chose to intentionally disobey the said summons and did not join investigation based on one flimsy ground and another.

In its reply filed before the Delhi High Court, the ED said Kejriwal's arrest was carried out in strict adherence to laws and added that the Delhi CM had "waived his right to question his custody as on today and the petitioner cannot now be allowed to argue that his custody as on today is illegal"

ED further stated that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi Liquor 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.

"AAP has committed the offence of money laundering through Arvind Kejriwal and the offences thus are covered by section 70, PMLA 2002The AAP is a political party comprising of association of individuals registered under Section 29-A of Representation of People Act 1951," stated ED.
Recently the Delhi High Court had sought Enforcement Directorate response petition moved by Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arresting and also ED remand granted by the trial court.

Earlier, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Arvind Kejriwal submitted that a sitting CM who is arrested one week ago during the Model Code of Conduct. The heart of democracy is level playing field and a free and fair election: If you do something to disrupt the level playing field, you hit the heart of democracy. My prayer is release me now because the foundation of my arrest is flawed, this is my interim prayer.

Arvind Kejriwal through plea alleged that the ED has at the time of arrest has failed to establish that Petitioner is guilty of committing activities stipulated under Section 3, i.e., be it one of concealment, possession, acquisition, use of proceeds of crime as much as projecting it as untainted property or claiming it to be so.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to the excise policy case.

The trial court on April 1, sent Arvind Kejriwal to Judicial Custody till April 15, 2024. ED alleged that the Aam Adami Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the alleged liquor scam.

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

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

While Kejriwal was not named in the FIRs registered by the ED or the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case, his name first found a mention in the ED's chargesheet, wherein the agency claimed that he allegedly spoke to one of the main accused, Sameer Mahendru, in a video call and asked him to continue working with co-accused and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair.

Nair was among the first people to be arrested by the CBI in the case, in 2022. Subsequently, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested in connection with the case. 

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