Arvind Kejriwal pleads to SC for early listing of appeal challenging his arrest and remand

Kejriwal's lawyer told the bench that the date of May 6 was showing as per the Supreme Court's website and pleaded to the apex court to list the matter as soon as possible.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Photo | PTI

Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has urged the Supreme Court to consider an early listing of his plea challenging his arrest and remand.

He told the Supreme Court on Friday that despite its earlier order to list his plea for the week commencing on April 29, the auto generated causelist of the top court now showed that the case was listed for hearing on May 6.

To this, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, leading the bench of the top court, replied, "Move an e-mail. We will consider it."

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 Delhi liquor scam. His appeal challenging the rejection of arrest and remand, was also pending for hearing in a two-judge bench of the top court.

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is the probe agency in the Delhi liquor scam case, submitted a reply to the apex court late on Wednesday saying that Kejriwal had desperately tried to save himself by allegedly evading the issuance of nine summons.

The ED has filed its reply to the SC after complying with the apex court's earlier orders which asked it to file its response on Kejriwal's appeal.

The ED, in its reply filed before the apex court, said that when Kejriwal could not secure a restraining order against his arrest from the Delhi High court, the ED arrested him on March 21 for his alleged involvement in the Delhi liquor scam. "He is the prime accused in the case," the ED said.

The ED said that his argument that his arrest was to prevent him from participating in his party's election process was totally incorrect. His plea that he was stopped from participating in a constitutional democracy process (election) which is independent, unbiased and fair was also wrong, it said.

The ED also said that if there is enough evidence against an accused person, whose political clout is huge, and the agency arrests him or her, one could not say that the arrest was illegal. One also could not say that his or her participation in an electoral process would be adversely affected if arrests would be made against them. If these arguments could be taken into consideration, then no political leader would be arrested despite their involvement in cases.

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On March 22, a trial court remanded him to six days of ED custody, which was extended by a further four days. On April 1, he was remanded to judicial custody (JC) till April 15, and subsequently on April 15, he was sent to judicial custody till April 23. On April 23, he was sent to JC till May 7.

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 Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, senior lawyer for the ED, said there is sufficient evidence against him and he is the main criminal conspirator in the Delhi liquor scam.

The Delhi HC, in its order had said, "The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal was not in contravention of the legal provisions. The remand can't be held to be illegal."

"The material collected by the ED reveals that Kejriwal conspired and is involved in formulation of excise policy and used proceeds of crime. He is also allegedly involved in personal capacity in formulation of policy and demanding kickbacks and secondly in the capacity of national convenor of AAP," the HC judge had said in her order.

She went on to say in her order that the rigours of section 70 PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) are attracted in this case. Section 70 penalises offences by companies. When a company contravenes the PMLA, every person who at the time the contravention was in charge of conduct of business of the company will be deemed to be guilty, the court said in its order.

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