Delhi HC to pronounce order on June 25 ED's appeal to suspend Kejriwal's bail

On June 21, the court reserved the judgment on the ED's appeal after hearing extensive arguments from both the Central probe agency and Kejriwal.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind KejriwalPhoto | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court is scheduled to pronounce its order on Tuesday on the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) appeal seeking suspension of the trial court's judgment granting bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi excise case.

A Vacation Bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain will pronounce the order at around 2: 30 p.m on June 25.

On June 21, the court reserved the judgment on the ED's appeal after hearing extensive arguments from both the Central probe agency and Kejriwal. Until the Delhi HC delivers its order on the ED's appeal, Kejriwal's bail order has been stayed.

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During the earlier hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, representing the ED, argued that the trial court's bail order was "perverse" and contrary to the mandate of Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Raju stated, "The trial court order shall be immediately stayed. We were not given an opportunity to represent our case in the trial court. When I tried to submit, the trial court said I have to deliver judgment. Be brief."

Opposing the ED's submissions, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, representing Kejriwal, raised a preliminary objection to listing the matter during the vacation, noting that the trial judge had granted bail through a reasoned order. Chaudhari questioned the ED's move, saying, "What is the justification of approaching the HC? What is the anxiety to get it listed in the vacations? There is no question of a stay."

ASG Raju further elaborated that material was shown in the trial court but was not considered. He explained, "There are two ways when bail can be canceled. If relevant facts are not considered and irrelevant facts considered, that is a ground for cancellation of bail."

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, opposing the ASG's argument that he was not given an opportunity to argue, pointed out that the hearing in the trial court lasted for five hours, with the ED taking 3.45 hours and the rest by Kejriwal's lawyer.

Singhvi said, "Therefore, where is the question of the ED being denied the opportunity to present its case," and rejected the ASG's submissions.

On June 20, in a significant relief to Kejriwal, Rouse Avenue Court's Vacation Judge Niyay Bindu granted him bail in the Delhi liquor case.

The court directed Kejriwal to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 1 lakh.

Soon after the order was pronounced, the ED requested the court to give 48 hours to sign the bail bond so the order could be challenged before the appellate court.

However, the judge did not allow this request and refused to stay the order, directing that the bail bond be produced before the duty judge by Friday. The trial court made it clear to the ED that there was no stay on the bail order.

Earlier, on June 5, Judge Kaveri Baweja of the same court rejected Kejriwal's bail plea on the grounds that his involvement in the crime could not be ruled out. The ED had told the court that Kejriwal was the mastermind and main conspirator in the Delhi liquor case, stating, "We have all the evidence against him."

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Following the rejection of his plea by the Delhi High Court on April 9, Kejriwal moved the Supreme Court on April 10 against the dismissal of his plea regarding his arrest and remand in the case.

Kejriwal claimed innocence in the liquor scam case and told the court during the hearings that the timing of his arrest, right after the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), was to humiliate, insult, and disable him and his political party.

The ASG reiterated that there was sufficient evidence against Kejriwal and that he was the main criminal conspirator in the case.

On May 10, the Supreme Court granted Kejriwal bail until June 1 to participate in election campaigns and asked him to surrender on June 2, while imposing certain conditions. Kejriwal had been in Tihar jail since March 21 for his alleged involvement in the Delhi excise case.

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