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इंडियन आवाज़     23 May 2024 08:35:31      انڈین آواز

Why Kejriwal arrested just before general election, SC asks ED

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AMN / NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Enforcement Directorate on the timing of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy scam ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

“Liberty is very exceedingly important; you can’t deny that. The last question is with regard to the timing of the arrest, which they (Kejriwal’s counsel) have pointed out, the timing of the arrest, soon before the general elections”, the top court asked the Directorate of Enforcement to respond to during its submissions on Friday – May 3, 2024.

The top court’s question to ED on the timing of the arrest of the Chief Minister Kejriwal is one of the five questions that a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta framed for the ED to answer after the two-hour long hearing in which senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appealing for Kejriwal took the bench through various statements including that of accused-turned-approver Sarath Chandra Reddy and the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure to highlight the flaws in the entire action of the central agency.

The bench asked the Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, to respond to these questions in the course of his submission on Friday – May 3, 2024, when he would be replying to the arguments advanced by the senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi for Kejriwal.

The other questions that the bench asked the ASG Raju to answer in the course of his submissions on Friday, included the question – whether there being any adjudicatory proceedings, can you have criminal proceedings being initiated? In terms of what has been held in (an earlier) Vijay Madanlal case or otherwise. In this case, there has been no proceeding for attachment.

Justice Khanna said that first there should be attachment – then offense – then finding in the offense. Attachment is followed by prosecution. Criminal proceedings cannot be standalone, unless there is confiscation, attachment and.

Singhvi referred to the several statements by the different accused including earlier statements by the ‘accused-turned-approver’ not naming Kejriwal before the ED during questioning, ASG Raju said that they are not relevant as we (ED) have not relied upon them.

Singhvi said that this statement made before the somersault by an accused may not be relevant for the ED but they are relevant for us. These statements cannot be expunged from the record merely because they are not being relied on by the ED.

Recounting the sequence of v events leading to accused-turned-approver being granted bail without any opposition from the ED, Singhvi cited the instance of an accused in the case whose plea for interim bail on the grounds of his wife suffering from cancer was stoutly resisted by the ED.

As Singhvi’s arguments remained inconclusive, he will continue them on Friday, followed by ASG Raju presenting the ED case opposing Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest and the subsequent remand.

Kejriwal has approached the top court challenging the Delhi High Court’s April 9, 2024, order rejecting his plea against his arrest by the ED and the subsequent remand. The top court had asked the Enforcement Directorate to respond to Kejriwal’s plea.

Kejriwal in his plea against the High Court order has contended that his arrest after announcement of the General Elections is “motivated by extraneous considerations”. Describing his arrest as “motivated”, Kejriwal has contended that a sitting Chief Minister has been arrested in the middle of election cycle and especially after the announcement of the schedule of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

The petition by Kejriwal against the High Court order says that the statements and material relied upon by the ED against him was in its possession for the last niner months but why it acted when general elections were on.

These statements relied upon as grounds of arrest were recorded by the ED from December 7, 2022, till July 27, 2023 and subsequently no further material has been collected against Kejriwal, states the petition.

“Moreover, such statements and material were in possession of the Enforcement Directorate for the last nine months and still the arrest has been made illegally in the middle of general election 2024”, says the petition by Kejriwal.

The petition says that Kejriwal’s arrest also constitutes an “unprecedented assault on the tenets of democracy” based on “free and fair elections” and “federalism”, both of which form significant constituents of the basic structure of the Constitution.

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