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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

May Consider Interim Bail Due To Elections”: Supreme Court On Arvind Kejriwal

The Supreme Court will look into the possibility of granting interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal so that he can campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta said it will look at the interim bail plea on Tuesday (May 7) and asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Mr Kejriwal’s counsel to be prepared.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was arrested by ED officials on March 21 in connection with alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. He has approached the Supreme Court after he did not get relief from lower courts. He is the third top AAP leader to be arrested in the corruption case, after Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh. Mr Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, is out on bail.

Appearing for Mr Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi today said there is no evidence against the Delhi Chief Minister and his arrest is legal. Mr Kejriwal, he said, had responded to nine summonses from the ED. He added that failure to appear cannot be a basis for arrest.

“All evidence on which I am arrested is pre-2023 end. Every material is as in July 2023. Same evidence relied on in Manish Sisodia’s case. Money trail chart was the same,” Mr Singhvi said.

When the court asked if any action had been taken against AAP, Mr Singhvi replied in the negative. Referring to Section 70 of the PMLA, which deals with offences by companies, he said, “Anything or everything done by a political party cannot be attributed to its convenor or president. Merely mentioning a company cannot lead to arrest of the MD unless you show something, same thing with AAP.” To this, Justice Khanna replied, “Any person in overall charge of the company, then you are vicariously liable with the company and then you have to show that it was done without your knowledge.” Mr Singhvi responded, “They say he is the brain behind AAP… he is involved in demand of kickbacks. There is no direct evidence.”

Appearing for the central agency, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju said the decision to arrest Mr Kejriwal was not just taken by the investigating officer, but also fortified by a special judge. “Before he was arrested, they moved a division bench of Delhi High Court, saying that he should not be arrested, but the court perused the documents and said no interference. So application of judicial mind in three stages,” he said.

The court eventually noted that this case and examination of its various aspects may take time. “But if the case takes time, we may consider interim bail due to elections,” the bench said. The court asked what conditions may be imposed if bail is granted. “We are yet to decide on that and (will) hear on Tuesday. We must be open so that neither side is taken by surprise,” the court said.

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Source: NDTV

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