Delhi High Court rejects Arvind Kejriwal's bail plea, CM to move Supreme Court

The material collected so far indicates that Kejriwal was involved in the alleged transactions, Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind KejriwalEPS, Parveen Negi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged liquor policy scam case. Kejriwal will now move the Supreme Court against the high court order, said AAP sources.

Judge Swarna Kanta Sharma said the material collected so far indicates that Kejriwal was involved in the alleged transactions, and it cannot go into the merits of the investigation by running a 'mini trial' at this stage. The trial must be done by the lower court.

The judge also refused to accept Kejriwal's argument that the central government, controlled by the BJP, is misusing the Enforcement Directorate to suppress the political opposition.

"Judges are bound by law not politics. Judgements are given on legal principles not political considerations..Political considerations cannot be brought before the Court as they are not relevant," the judge said, adding that Enforcement Directorate cannot be seen as an agency of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

"The present case is not a case between the Central govt and Mr Kejriwal but between Mr Kejriwal and ED. The Court must remain vigilant that it is not influenced by any extraneous factors," the judge added.

The court noted that the statements of the approvers Raghav Magunta and Sarath Reddy were recorded in front of a court, and dismissed the argument by Kejriwal that they were unreliable.

Whether the statements are credible and why the above people kept changing their position was not an issue that can be examined in the high court at this stage. This is for the trial court to decide, it added.

The court also said that the court cannot lay down a separate set of laws for the ordinary man and another for high-profile persons.

The Aam Aadmi Party is expected to shortly move the Supreme Court.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21st in connection with the alleged Rs 600 crore scam involving the now-scrapped Delhi liquor excise policy for 2021-22. The ED believes that profit margins were revised arbitrarily to cover bribes paid for the allotment of alcohol sales licenses.

The AAP and Kejriwal have vehemently denied all charges and accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of manipulating central agencies to target and harass rivals before polls. The BJP, in turn, has denied these claims.

Kejriwal is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail, and his judicial custody has been extended until April 15th.

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