Arvind Kejriwal Sent to Custody of Enforcement Directorate

Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court on Friday sent CM Kejriwal to ED custody in the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Friday remanded to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate for seven days i.e., till March 28, a day after he was arrested by the probe agency in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case linked to a money laundering case.

Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court on Friday sent CM Kejriwal to ED custody in the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

Special CBI judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court passed the order after Kejriwal was produced on Friday following his arrest on Thursday night by the central probe agency.

Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Vikram Chaudhari, and Ramesh Gupta along with Advocates Rajat Bharadwaj, Mudit Jain and Mohd Irshad appeared for the Delhi CM Kejriwal.

ASG SV Raju and Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain appeared for the probe agency.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

“ED was asking for a 10-day remand. They said that to trace the money trail, a custodial investigation is necessary. Considering all aspects, the judge gave a 6-day custodial remand. He will be presented here again on 28 March. ED argued that the money used for the Goa elections was ill-gotten. They said they have statements of some witnesses which prove this fact.” Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer Madan Lal told reporters.

After the court’s decision, Atishi said that the party would explore all possible legal routes for further actions.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal in Rouse Avenue Court after his Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand hearing in an alleged Delhi excise policy case, in New Delhi on Friday. He has been sent to ED custody till March 28 by the court. (ANI Photo)

“We, very respectfully and humbly disagree with the decision of the court. ED has no proof even after 2 years of investigation… ED forced their witnesses to give statements against Arvind Kejriwal… We will explore all possible legal routes… One by one opposition parties are being targeted in front of the judiciary… Arvind Kejriwal will always be the CM of Delhi. There is no Constitutional bar on him not being the CM. He has not been convicted till now,” she said.

Terming the day as a “dark” one, Atishi further said that the ‘democracy in the country has been murdered today’.

“BJP wants to contest elections from behind the ED… Is ED a part of the BJP that the party is issuing their press release? To date, no proceeds of crime have been found by the ED against the AAP leaders… Today is a dark day in the history of democracy of the country. People of the country are seeing this murder of democracy which has been done today,” she added.

The arrest by the central agency has drawn severe criticism for the BJP-led centre from the opposition leaders.

Delhi Minister Kailash Gahlot, while questioning the action by the federal agency said, “We met the family of Arvind Kejriwal after much delay… We have been saying from the very beginning that this case is false and the only motive is to stop Arvind Kejriwal. What recovery has been made by the ED till now?… It is the party’s stand that the CM should not resign. The government will be run from wherever the CM is. We have no problem with this and no law says he should resign…”

AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the ‘countdown of the Central government has begun on 21 March’ with the arrest of Delhi CM.

“… It is Arvind Kejriwal today, it can be someone else tomorrow. This government will spare no one… The world is supporting Arvind Kejriwal. And when things like this happen at a global scale, revolutions happen and governments are overturned. The countdown of the Central government has begun on 21 March… BJP supporters are also coming to us and saying, all was fine till now, but this has become a little too much,” he said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav voiced criticism of the arrest of Kejriwal, alleging that government institutions like ED, CBI, and income tax work as instruments for the government.

“These are government institutions, they’ll do what the government wants. This raises the question of whether in a democracy, institutions operate as instruments and are working as instruments to please the BJP. They are creating false cases to make records globally. They are not only making records globally but also creating records of false cases. The BJP is setting records in creating false cases worldwide,” said Akhilesh Yadav.

An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporter being detained during a protest against the arrest of CM Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged Delhi excise policy case, in Bhubaneswar on Friday. (ANI Photo)

Terming Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest “unethical and wrong,” Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Friday that he had never seen such an action against an elected Chief Minister.

“I have never seen such an action on an elected CM. When the Model Code of Conduct is implemented in the country, going to arrest a CM at night, has been opposed by all. This is very unethical and wrong. The Election Commission should intervene in this matter,” Pilot said.

Bharat Rashtra Samithi chief and former Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao, whose daughter K Kavitha is also in ED custody in the same case called Kejriwal’s arrest a “dark day” in Indian democracy.

“The arrest of Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is a dark day in the history of democracy of the country,” said a press statement by KCR.

Raising slogans “Arvind tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare sath hain” and “tyranny won’t last”, hundreds of AAP leaders and workers on Friday hit the streets to protest against the BJP over Kejriwal’s arrest, with AAP ministers Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and others being detained earlier in the day.

Several protestors were bundled into buses as they gathered at the ITO intersection around 10.30 am to proceed towards the BJP office on the DDU Marg.

Paramilitary personnel in anti-riot gear were also deployed to maintain law and order.

As Delhi cabinet ministers Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and others tried to proceed towards the BJP headquarters around 11 am, they were taken away in police buses.

Later, 21 workers including the ministers were released.

AAP leaders alleged that they were stopped by the police from meeting family members of the Delhi CM.

Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi alleged that the party leaders who marched towards the residence of Delhi CM Kejriwal in the Civil Lines area were stopped and not allowed to meet Kejriwal’s family.

“We have come to meet Arvind Kejriwal’s family but police and administration are not allowing us to go inside. Democracy can’t be murdered like this and we can’t be stopped from raising our voices. The people of Delhi are with Arvind Kejriwal,” Oberoi told ANI.

Later, selected AAP MLAs, Chief Whip Dilip K. Pandey, Mayor Shelly Oberoi, Cabinet Ministers Imran Hussain and Raaj Kumar Anand, were allowed to enter the residence of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

The AAP will gherao the prime minister’s residence on March 26 to register its protest against Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED, the party’s leader Gopal Rai said on Friday.

Speaking to ANI, Rai said that the party will not celebrate Holi this year.

“People across the country have taken to the streets against this arrest… Tomorrow our ministers, councilors, officials, INDIA bloc leaders all will reach Shaheedi Park at 10 o’clock tomorrow to protest against this dictatorship…This year the Holi programme won’t take place. On 25 March we will go to people and tell them what is happening in the country… On 26 March whole of Delhi will gherao PM’s residence to mark a protest against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest,” the Delhi Minister said.

Meanwhile, jibing at the AAP leader, BJP leader Manoj Tiwari said, “If no one has come today, then who is going to come after 2-4 days?… The people of Delhi are not even discussing them. No one is going to ask them.”

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said, “I would like Gopal Rai to roam the streets of Delhi on March 25 and see with how much enthusiasm and joy the people of Delhi will celebrate Holi because on Holi, evil is destroyed and good wins. Yes, this time this work has been done in Delhi, evil has been destroyed.”

INDIA bloc leaders on Friday met the Election Commission against Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest and the alleged targeting of Opposition leaders across the country ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

The letter submitted to the poll body by INDIA on Friday asserted that “arrests, of individuals holding Constitutional posts are clearly intended to have a stifling and deleterious effect on the democratic functioning of the affairs of their respective states, as well as the parties themselves”.

The letter further read, “It is a move that is deliberately designed to demotivate and demoralise the members of these parties and the opposition at large. These arrested individuals, one of whom is the National Convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party, and the other is the Working President of Jharkhand, Mukti Morcha, are elected leaders of our country who have championed the cause of those on the margins of our society, including our brothers and sisters belonging to the tribal communities.”

While Kejriwal was not named in the FIRs registered by the ED or the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case, his name first found a mention in the ED’s chargesheet wherein the agency claimed that he allegedly spoke to one of the main accused, Sameer Mahendru, in a video call and asked him to continue working with co-accused and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair.

Nair was among the first people to be arrested by CBI in the case, in 2022. Subsequently, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested in connection with the case. (ANI)

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