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Kejriwal Approaches Supreme Court Challenging His Arrest In Alleged Liquor Policy After Delhi HC Dismisses

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court today contesting his arrest in the liquor policy case, one day after the court denied it. The lawyer for the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) brought up the issue with Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and requested an immediate hearing. If a hearing is allowed today, the Chief Justice declined to say so. “We will see, we will look into it,” he replied.

Yesterday, the high court rejected Mr. Kejriwal’s appeal against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) arrest of him on March 21. The central agency had “little option,” the court ruled, after the AAP leader ignored many summonses related to the money laundering case. It also referred to the charge made by the ED that Mr. Kejriwal was actively involved in the use and hiding of purportedly illicit gains.

The court emphasised that a probe agency does not need to adhere to a different protocol while questioning a Chief Minister and an average citizen.

“Further, this Court holds that this Court would not lay down two different categories of laws, one for common citizens, and the other granting special privilege to be extended by investigating agency to a Chief Minister or any other person in power only on the basis of being in that public office since that public office is enjoyed by that public figure due to the mandate of the public,” Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said in her statement.

AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj responded to the high court ruling by claiming that the ED and CBI did not locate a single rupee during their searches related to the Delhi liquor policy case. “They are talking about crores. But ED and CBI have not found even a rupee of illegal money. Witnesses have been pressured to change their statements and say what ED wants them to,” he said. “This issue is not about money laundering. This is the biggest political conspiracy in India’s history,” he said.

A day after his arrest, Mr. Kejriwal had earlier petitioned the Supreme Court, but he later dropped his request to bring up the issue in the trial court. This occurred on the same day that K Kavitha, the leader of Bharat Rashtra Samithi and another accused in the liquor policy case, was denied relief by a Supreme Court bench. The highest court then ordered Ms. Kavitha to appear before the trial court, stating that it could not circumvent protocol.

After a court setback and eighteen days, Mr. Kejriwal is back before the Supreme Court seeking relief.

It is claimed that the Delhi government gave liquor licence holders incentives under its programme, which was established in 2021 and removed the following year. The CBI began looking into the claims of irregularities on Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena’s advice. In this case, the ED is looking into the money route. In addition to Mr. Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, a prominent AAP leader and former deputy chief minister, is incarcerated in this case. Sanjay Singh, an AAP MP who was also detained in this matter, is currently free on bond.

Mr. Bharadwaj added that AAP MP Sanjay Singh had been denied relief by the high court on the same reasons, but that the Supreme Court had given him release. “We hope Arvind Kejriwal, too, will get justice from the Supreme Court,” he stated.

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