SC to pronounce verdict on Kejriwal's appeal against ED arrest

A two-judge bench of the top court, led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna and also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, had reserved the judgment on May 17, after hearing extensively -- which went for 4 days -- from the side of ED and Kejriwal.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal(Photo | Express)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday, July 12, would pronounce the verdict on the appeal filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest and remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi excise policy case.

A two-judge bench of the top court, led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna and also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, had reserved the judgment on May 17, after hearing extensively -- which went for 4 days -- from the side of ED and Kejriwal.

During the course of the hearing, the bench went through the written records of the case and asked the ED (Enforcement Directorate), which is the probe agency in the case, to submit a chart to show what new evidence had emerged after former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's arrest to justify its decision to arrest Kejriwal.

The ED had filed the eighth chargesheet in the case, naming Kejriwal and AAP as accused. The agency told the apex court that it discovered alleged chats between Kejriwal and some hawala operators regarding the alleged proceeds of crime in the Delhi excise policy case.

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The ED claimed that the chats had been recovered from the devices of hawala operators after Kejriwal refused to share the password of his devices.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, senior law officer appearing for the ED said, "We now have direct chats between Arvind Kejriwal and hawala operators in the case."

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the apex court gave a time of one week to all the parties to file additional documents in the case.

The ED submitted before the court that there was direct evidence of 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," Raju said, adding 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 in the case.

Responding to the submissions made by ED, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, contended that the material being cited by the agency to defend the Chief Minister’s arrest was not present at the time of his arrest. "There is no material evidence against my client in any manner," he told the court.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe relating to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

On May 10, the Supreme Court granted Kejriwal interim bail till June 1 to take part in election campaigns.

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