‘No exception’ in interim bail to Kejriwal: SC

ED objects to CM’s statement, if people vote for AAP, he will not have to go back to jail.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaPTI Photo

NEW DELHI: The ED on Thursday told the Supreme Court and objected to Arvind Kejriwal’s statement made while campaigning, where he said that if the people of India vote for Aam Aadmi Party, he will not have to go back to jail.

“This is a slap on the face of the institution,” Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, a senior law officer appearing for the ED, told the apex court’s two-judge bench, led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna and also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta.

When Mehta asked the apex court to pass appropriate directions against Kejriwal, Justice Khanna said, “Our order is very clear in this aspect as to when he has to surrender. The rule of law has to be followed.”

While refusing to consider the ED’s objection against Kejriwal’s statement that if people vote for AAP, he will not go back to jail on June 2, the apex court said that critical analysis of the verdict was welcome.

“We have not made any exception for anybody. We said in our order what we felt is justified,” Justice Khanna said.

The apex court was hearing the appeal of Kejriwal, challenging his arrest and remand in the Delhi liquor case. It is significant to note that the SC recently granted him interim bail till June 1 and asked him to surrender on June 2.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), the central probe agency, told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be made co-accused in the money laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy case.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, told the top court that a complaint against AAP is in the pipeline and there is direct evidence of its national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanding Rs 100 crore as kickbacks in the case.

“There is evidence that Kejriwal demanded a bribe of Rs 100 crores, which went to the AAP for Goa election expenses,” he said, and added that apart from vicarious liability as the head of the AAP, Kejriwal is also directly liable as the person who played a major role in formulating the excise policy. He said there was evidence to show that Kejriwal’s stay in a seven-star hotel in Goa was partly funded by an accused.

The hearing was inconclusive today and will continue tomorrow before the same bench of judges in the top court.

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.

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,” ASG Raju said.

He mentioned that when the investigation began it was not focused on Kejriwal, but as it progressed, he was named and his role became clearer.

The top court also observed that national elections are held once in five years, although it opined that politicians should not be treated separately. “Elections are around the corner and we are thinking from that perspective,” Justice Khanna said.

ED: Case against AAP soon

The ED on Thursday told the Supreme Court it will soon file a prosecution complaint against him and the Aam Aadmi Party in a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

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