Delhi High Court stays trial court order granting bail to Arvind Kejriwal in Excise policy case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal would continue to remain in jail as a Vacation Bench of Delhi High Court stayed his regular bail

Updated - June 25, 2024 07:54 pm IST

Published - June 25, 2024 02:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File photo.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday imposed a stay on the regular bail granted by a trial Court to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case.

Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said the trial court had not sufficiently appreciated the evidence submitted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The judge also concurred with Additional Solicitor-General S.V. Raju’s contention that the Central agency had not been given adequate opportunity to argue its stay application.

“The [trial court] Vacation Judge while passing the Impugned Order did not appropriately appreciate the material/documents submitted on record and pleas taken by ED,” the High Court said.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal bail highlights | Delhi HC stays trial court order granting bail to CM in excise policy case

“Accordingly the application [ED’s] is allowed. The operation of the impugned order is stayed,” Justice Kumar ruled while acting on the ED’s plea challenging the bail granted to the Chief Minister last week.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it disagreed with the order of the Delhi High Court and would challenge it in the Supreme Court.

Special judge Niyay Bindu of Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court on June 20 ordered the release of Mr. Kejriwal on a bail bond of ₹1 lakh. She pointed out that the federal agency had failed to procure any direct evidence linking him to the proceeds of the crime. However, the ED moved the High Court the next day, alleging that the ruling was “perverse” and based on irrelevant facts.

Acceding to the ED’s plea, the High Court imposed an interim stay on Mr. Kejriwal’s release and reserved its verdict to peruse the case records. This prompted Mr. Kejriwal to approach the Supreme Court citing an unwarranted curtailment of personal liberty.

However, the top Court on Monday declined to intervene immediately and instead deferred the hearing of Mr. Kejriwal’s plea to June 26 to await the High Court’s final verdict on the matter. It however conceded that it was quite “unusual” for a High Court to reserve orders in a case affecting personal liberty.

The Chief Minister of Delhi was arrested by the ED on March 21. The agency had alleged that Mr. Kejriwal was the “kingpin” of the Delhi excise policy scam. After remaining in jail for weeks, he was released on May 10 by the Supreme Court so that he could campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. He returned to jail on June 2 after the top court denied him any further relief.

Senior advocates Abhishek Singhvi and Vikram Chaudhari, representing Mr. Kejriwal during the proceeding, urged the High Court not to stay the bail order. They instead suggested that the court send him back to jail if it found overwhelming and cogent circumstances.

Mr. Singhvi argued that Mr. Kejriwal cannot be detained in jail indefinitely and the Vacation Judge was not expected to mention each and every argument stated to have been advanced on behalf of the ED in the bail order.

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