Delhi excise case: Arvind Kejriwal moves SC against HC’s interim stay on bail order in ED case

The High Court on June 21 paused the release of the embattled Chief Minister after the trial court granted him bail on June 20.

Updated - June 24, 2024 12:07 pm IST

Published - June 23, 2024 06:58 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urgently approached the Supreme Court on June 23 against the Delhi High Court’s suspension of bail granted to him by a trial court in the excise policy case.

Mr. Kejriwal’s lawyers said the petition would be mentioned orally for early hearing on June 24 before a Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court.

Arvind Kejriwal bail plea LIVE updates: SC to hear Kejriwal’s plea

They have argued that the interim order was a violation of the fundamental right to personal liberty.

The interim order passed by the Delhi High Court was based on an appeal filed by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) within a day of the trial court ordering the release of the Chief Minister, who was arrested on March 21.

The apex court had earlier, on May 10, intervened to grant Mr. Kejriwal interim bail to campaign in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election. The Chief Minister, complying with the apex court’s direction, surrendered on June 2.

Following this train of events, the Chief Minister had applied for bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The trial judge, on June 20, had prima facie concluded a lack of evidence with the ED to establish Mr. Kejriwal’s guilt, or with proof linking him to any money trail or proceeds of crime.

However, the High Court stopped the release of Mr. Kejriwal from jail.

“Till the pronouncement of this order, the operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed,” a Vacation Bench of the High Court had ordered.

The High Court Bench had then reserved the ED’s appeal for two-three days, saying it wanted to go through the entire case records.

The excise policy was scrapped in 2022 after the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities and corruption involving its formulation and execution.

According to the ED and the CBI, irregularities were committed while modifying the policy and undue favours extended to the licence holders.

In the High Court, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, had argued that the agency was not given enough time and opportunity by the trial judge to place its arguments against Mr. Kejriwal’s plea for bail.

In turn, Mr. Kejriwal’s counsel, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, had argued in the High Court that the ED’s attempt was to malign the trial court judge.

The Chief Minister’s lawyers argued that he was not a “terrorist who would harm the society if he is let out”.

BJP alleges hypocrisy

Reacting to Mr. Kejriwal moving the SC, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said that, just days ago, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had condemned the ED and the Central government for victimising Mr. Kejriwal as the ED had moved to Delhi High Court against a Delhi court granting bail to the CM, but he had now moved the SC.

“It’s shocking to see that showing peak of hypocrisy, the AAP leaders who were condemning ED for moving High Court against bail to Kejriwal without waiting for written order have today moved Supreme Court without even waiting for High Court’s hearing to complete,” Mr. Sachdeva said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court's interim stay on a trial court's order granting him bail in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged excise scam.

The High Court on June 21 paused the release of the embattled Chief Minister after the trial court granted him bail on June 20.

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