Delhi Court Grants Bail To Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal In Liquor Policy Case

Update: 2024-06-20 14:27 GMT
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A Delhi Court on Thursday granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case connected to the alleged liquor policy scam.Vacation Judge Nyay Bindu of Rouse Avenue Courts passed the order after reserving it earlier today. ED's special counsel Zoheb Hossain prayed for stay of the order till the probe agency exercises its legal remedies. However, the court rejected...

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A Delhi Court on Thursday granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case connected to the alleged liquor policy scam.

Vacation Judge Nyay Bindu of Rouse Avenue Courts passed the order after reserving it earlier today.  

ED's special counsel Zoheb Hossain prayed for stay of the order till the probe agency exercises its legal remedies. However, the court rejected the request for stay.

Detailed report on the bail order can be read here - ED Acting With Bias Against Arvind Kejriwal, No Direct Evidence On Proceeds Of Crime : Delhi Court In Bail Order

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21. In May, he was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court till June 01 in view of general elections. He surrendered on June 2.

ASG SV Raju appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted that co accused Chanpreet Singh received huge cash amounts from entrepreneurs and paid bills of hotel stay of Arvind Kejriwal.

He said that it is not that the ED was doing investigation in the air and that the central probe agency has concrete evidence in the case.

“Kejriwal says my phone is sacrosanct. Mai password nahi dunga. (I will not give my password). We had to resort to the phone of Vinod Chauhan. He is sitting quiet. Many times it has happened that accused says I will not... An adverse inference has to be drawn from the fact that Kejriwal has refused to give his password. This is a ground for refusing bail under ordinary bail law, forget section 45 PMLA for the time being,” ASG said.

ASG further said that co accused Vijay Nair, who was unconnected with the government and had no business in framing of the excise policy, he was used as a middleman by Kejriwal and that his proximity with the Chief Minister is established beyond doubt.

Rebutting the submissions, Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari appearing for Kejriwal submitted that Manish Sisodia's bail was rejected by the Supreme Court because he was seeking bail in two cases- scheduled case and the PMLA case.

He said that as of date, Kejriwal is not an accused in the CBI case and that on the contrary, the record stands that he was called as a witness.

“It is not for ED to guide the CBI. It is an independent agency which will take the call,” he said.

Chaudhari added: “Why did you not arrest him earlier? Why March 21? What did you want from him? Is the ED an independent agency or is it playing in the hands of some political masters? At the end of the day I am a political entity, I've to make such submissions.”

Furthermore, Chaudhari said that co accused Chanpreet Singh does not say anywhere that he has paid for AAP Goa elections or that he collected proceeds of crime.

“It was urged that one token number is recovered from Vinod Chauhan who is in direct touch with Kejriwal. What evidence you have against a sitting CM? What are these two chats which they have extracted? How would these chats even remotely show the transfer of money? It is presumption of ED….Chats are not related to the excise policy, or bribe, or any Goa elections. Just because Vinod Chauhan has a posting order in his phone, it is presumed that the posting is done by me. If this is believed then no one is safe. Just throw it in the air, throw it in media,” he said.

The senior counsel also said that merely because Vijay Nair was occupying a room in Minister Kailash Gehlot's house, it cannot be speculated that there was some proximity or link between Kejriwal and him.

“Where do they get all that? Vijay Nair in his statement in 2022 stated that he reported to Ms. Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj. But ED continues to say that he was under my orders. There is no proof that I have ever instructed him to receive the bribe or do any meeting,” he said.

Yesterday, Chaudhari had said that Kejriwal had not been made an accused in the scheduled offence to date. He further submitted that the Chief Minister was not seeking any special status, although since he was a constitutional functionary, the chair ought to be respected.

He had questioned the credibility of the material put forth by ED, pointing towards statements of witnesses who were granted pardons and turned approvers in the case. He further questioned the timing of Kejriwal's arrest by ED, submitting that he was arrested soon after the general elections were announced.

On the other hand, ED had submitted that there was no doubt as to the commission of a money laundering offence since cognizance had been taken by the concerned court and the cognizance order had not been challenged.

It was argued that it was for Kejriwal to show that he was not guilty of a PMLA offence, and in that regard, the fact that he holds a constitutional post is not relevant. On the issue of timing of arrest, it was claimed that arrest is the prerogative of the Investigating Officer and timing is irrelevant if a PMLA offence is made out.

Recently, Kejriwal's plea seeking interim bail for seven days on medical grounds was dismissed by the court. It was said that the extensive campaigning done by him during elections showed that he was not suffering from any serious or life-threatening ailment so as to entitle him to bail under PMLA.

The court also said that Diabetes or even type-2 Diabetes cannot be said to be so serious an ailment so as to entitle Kejriwal to the relief claimed.

A few days ago, the ED filed a supplementary chargesheet in the money laundering case naming Kejriwal as well as the Aam Aadmi Party as the accused. The court reserved the order on cognizance of the seventh supplementary chargesheet filed by the probe agency.

On April 10, the Delhi High Court dismissed Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest, observing that ED was able to place enough material, statements of approvers and AAP's own candidate stating that Kejriwal was given money for Goa elections.

AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are also accused in the case. While Sisodia continues to remain in jail, Singh has been granted bail by the Supreme Court pursuant to a concession given by the ED.

ED has alleged that Arvind Kejriwal is the "kingpin" of the Delhi excise scam and is directly involved in the use of proceeds of crime accounting for over Rs. 100 crores. It is ED's case that the excise policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12 per cent to certain private companies, although such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of the Group of Ministers (GoM).

The Central agency has also claimed that there was a conspiracy coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with South Group to give extraordinary profit margins to wholesalers. Nair was acting on behalf of Kejriwal and Sisodia, according to the agency.

Click here to read the order

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