Excise case: Delhi court denies interim bail to CM Arvind Kejriwal

The court also extended Kejriwal's judicial custody till June 19.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.File Photo | EPS

NEW DELHI: Special judge at the Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday rejected the interim bail plea filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is a prime accused in the Delhi liquor scam case.

While refusing to grant bail to Kejriwal, Special Judge Kaveri Baweja, said "I have issued certain directions for his diagnostic tests to be conducted." The court, however refused to grant him interim bail at this stage.

The court on Wednesday, extended the judicial custody of Kejriwal till June 19, when he would be produced before a vacation judge on that day in the case.

Seeking interim bail, Kejriwal's lawyer, Vivek Jain pleaded to the judge that his client has serious health concerns. The judge however asked him to move an appropriate application in this regard for bail and did not pass a favourable order of bail.

Kejriwal had moved a plea for interim bail, seeking seven days time to undergo a series of tests owing to his ill health. He has also filed a plea for regular bail.

AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
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On the last date of hearing on June 1, the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, for the ED, raised a number of preliminary objections and opposed his interim bail on the maintainability and the intention of the plea.

Mehta said that Kejriwal allegedly suppressed the fact that the apex court had refused to extend his interim bail beyond June 1 and his bail plea cannot be entertained solely on this basis. ASG Raju said, "The (Supreme Court) order categorically says he will surrender by June 2. The SC order has not been modified till date. He is technically asking for extension of interim bail granted by the SC and that is not permissible."

Vehemently opposing Kejriwal's plea, the SG, Mehta, said that the Delhi CM did not provide any explanation, for why he did not go for a test. "Can the entire system be taken for a joyride like this? This is being used for oblique reasons.," SG Mehta said.

Kejriwal has filed two separate petitions before the trial court. His first plea has sought regular bail, the second one has sought interim bail for seven days on medical / health grounds. His regular bail plea is scheduled for hearing on June 7.

Pleading for not extending his bail, Mehta stated that Kejriwal's body weight has remained constant. "Kejriwal is lying about experiencing health problems. His claim that he has lost 5-6 kg weight is false. He has, in fact, gained 1 kg," Mehta told the court.

Pointing out that his health was fine, Mehta said that Kejriwal yesterday declared that he will be going to surrender. "Is he taking a chance and then surrender? I want to ask if his statement is genuine? We have preliminary objections. False statements have been made about his health, there is suppression. We have objections to filing of interim bail as well. This court cannot modify the Supreme Court order," Mehta said.

Adding to Mehta's submissions, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Raju, also for the ED, said that a person who was feigning sickness, concocting reason cannot be granted interim bail.

The Delhi CM has attached two medical reports in his plea to seek extension of his interim bail. His counsel, N Hariharan, argued the importance of his tests to be done for his well-being and requested the court's consideration for the extension to complete the necessary medical investigations.

Kejriwal had claimed that he lost 5-6 kilograms (kgs) during his arrest, which he could not regain even after his release. "His weight today is 64 kg. When he was taken into custody, it was 69 kg," Hariharan said.

He was seeking bail, as there was sudden weight loss, coupled with high ketone levels, could be indicative of kidney damage, serious cardiac ailments and even cancer, Kejriwal had submitted.

Kejriwal had moved the Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday, after his plea for extension of 7 day interim bail was not listed for hearing and the same was rejected by thr apex court registry.

The ED further said that no political leader has been granted interim bail for campaigning even though he is not the contesting candidate.

The ED also said that if the top court granted interim bail to Kejriwal on the grounds of elections, then this "will create a precedent which would permit all unscrupulous politicians to commit crimes, avoid investigation under this garb."

Opposing the Court's suggestion to grant Kejriwal interim bail in view of the Lok Sabha elections, the ED said, "The right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right. The agency also submitted that a politician cannot claim a higher status than an ordinary citizen and was not entitled to differential treatment."

Justifying Kejriwal's arrest in the case, the ED had told the Supreme Court that he was the mastermind and main conspirator in the case. We have all the evidence against him,"the ASG Raju told the SC.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor, had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi HC's rejection of his plea challenging his arrest and remand by the ED.

A day after his plea was rejected by the Delhi High Court on April 9, Kejriwal had on April 10 moved the Supreme Court against the dismissal of plea of his arrest and remand in the case.

The accused, Kejriwal claimed innocence in the liquor gate scam case and had told the Court, during the hearing that the timing of his arrest right after the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is to humiliate, insult, and disable him and his political party.

The ASG Raju said that there are sufficient evidences against him and he is the main criminal conspirator in the Delhi liquor scam case.

AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
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