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Arvind Kejriwal Withdraws Plea from Supreme Court Against ED Arrest

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday withdrew from the Supreme Court his petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) a day earlier for his alleged role in the irregularities in the now-scrapped 2021-22 Delhi excise policy, hours after his legal team presses for an urgent hearing and the top court even agreed to hear the plea later in the day.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, told justice Sanjiv Khanna that his client would rather argue before the trial court where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener is expected to be produced in the afternoon. ED is likely to seek custodial remand of Kejriwal that Singhvi said would be contested.

“As the remand proceedings before the trial court are clashing, we have decided to withdraw it here. We will fight the remand and can come back to your lordships… I will give a letter to the registry,” Singhvi told justice Khanna, who heads the special bench that was to take up Kejriwal’s petition in the afternoon. The other judges on this bench are justices MM Sundresh and Bela M Trivedi.

The decision to withdraw the petition from the top court came close on the heels of the special bench’s rejection of a similar request by Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, who was arrested last week by ED in the same case. While refusing to entertain Kavitha’s plea for freeing her on bail, the special bench said it would not entertain a bail plea directly merely because a petitioner happens to be a political person or can afford to come to the Supreme Court directly. She was asked to go to the trial court first.

Singhvi had in the morning mentioned Kejriwal’s plea before Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, who asked him to do so before the special bench hearing Kavitha’s matter. Singhvi then mentioned the case before the regular bench of justice Khanna, who agreed to hear the matter. The judge said the special bench would be reconstituted later in the day to hear Kejriwal’s petition.

Kejriwal is also due to be produced before a special court at Rouse Avenue on Friday, where ED will seek his custody. ED arrested Kejriwal on Thursday, hours after the Delhi high court turned down his plea for interim protection. The high court asked Kejriwal why he had not approached the lower court seeking anticipatory bail if he was apprehending arrest.

Kejriwal skipped nine ED summonses on the grounds that they were “illegal” and that ED had not specified in which capacity he was being called in — as an accused or witness, as chief minister, or as national convener of AAP.

Kejriwal is the third major AAP leader to be arrested in the probe after his former deputy and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia as well as the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.

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(Source: HT)

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