Arvind Kejriwal's ED custody extended till April 1

ED said in its fresh remand plea that during Kejriwal's custodial interrogation, his statements were recorded over five days but he was "giving evasive replies".
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal comes out of the Rouse Avenue Court after he was produced by the Enforcement Directorate in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Thursday, March 28, 2024.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal comes out of the Rouse Avenue Court after he was produced by the Enforcement Directorate in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Thursday, March 28, 2024.

New Delhi | A court here Thursday extended the Enforcement Directorate custody of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal till April 1 in the excise policy case.

The agency sought seven-day custody of the AAP chief, but the court said he has to be produced before it on April 1 at 11 am.

The ED had produced him before Rouse Avenue court Special Judge Kaveri Baweja as his current six-day custody was ending on Thursday.

The ED said in its fresh remand plea that during Kejriwal's custodial interrogation, his statements were recorded over five days but he was "giving evasive replies".

It said statements of three other persons relevant to the case have also been recorded during the remand period.

It said that during the ED custody, Kejriwal was confronted with C Arvind, the then personal secretary to deputy CM Manish Sisodia who was handed over the draft Group of Ministers (GoM) report for the 2021-22 excise policy at the residence of the chief minister.

It said the statement of one of the AAP candidates in the 2022 Goa elections was also recorded during Kejriwal's ED custody. It revealed that the candidate did not have any money and his election expenditure was "taken care of by the AAP Office Delhi only through their associates",

The plea said that during the custody, data from the mobile phone of the chief minister's wife have been extracted and were being analysed.

"However, data from other four digital devices seized during the search at Kejriwal's premises on March 21 (belonging to Kejriwal) are yet to be extracted as the arrestee (Kejriwal) has sought time in providing password and login credentials after consulting with his lawyers," it said.

The application said the movable and immovable property details, income tax returns (ITRs), and other financial details sought from Kejriwal were yet to be provided by the chief minister, or his family members.

The federal probe agency said it had sought the details regarding the appointments made with the chief minister in the online portal in his office.

It said the during the interrogation, summonses were issued to senior excise officials in Punjab who were "involved in the arm-twisting of certain (liquor) wholesalers of Delhi."

The agency said that when the demand for bribes was not fulfilled, these officials either shut down their factories or did not allow the wholesalers to despatch their goods to Punjab.

The plea said the officials concerned sought time on the summonses, citing the hooch tragedy in Sangrur.

"The arrestee needs to be interrogated further in the wake of these reasons or findings. Hence, it is imperative in the interest of investigation that seven days' further custodial remand of Arvind Kejriwal may be granted to the Directorate of Enforcement," the plea said.

Delhi HC dismisses PIL to remove Arvind Kejriwal from CM post after arrest

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a PIL seeking the removal of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal from the post of Delhi chief minister following his arrest in the excise policy-linked money laundering case.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said the petitioner did not show any legal provision prohibiting the AAP leader from running the government post arrest to warrant any judicial interference, and the executive authorities would act in case there is a constitutional failure.

"There may be difficulties. It will be practically very very difficult. We accept all those. (But) Is there any scope for judicial interference in this, on this issue?," the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet P S Arora, stated.

"This court is of the view that there is no scope for judicial interference vis-a-vis the relief sought for removal of respondent no. 4 (Kejriwal). It is for the other wings of the government to examine in accordance with the law," the court concluded.

It clarified that it has not commented on the merits of the issue.

Petitioner Surjit Singh Yadav's counsel argued that Kejriwal's arrest adversely affected the integrity of the Delhi government in the eyes of the general public and his continuation as the chief minister would obstruct the due process of law and lead to breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the capital.

Justice Manmohan said the high court does not impose president's or governor's rule and it is for the executive wing to examine the issue.

"Today you have to show us that there is any bar or prohibition which prevents him from continuing as a CM. If there is a constitutional failure, the President will act on it or the governor will act on it. We will not act on it," the court told the petitioner's counsel.

"The LG has to consider, the President of India has to consider and the council of ministers will consider. They know how to do it. They know how to operate the constitutional provisions. We don't impose President's rule or governor's rule," it added.

Stating that the executive may take some time to arrive at a conclusion with respect to the situation, the court remarked that probably, this situation was not envisaged.

"There is no legal bar that you are able to show us. Let the executive branch examine," it said.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener, who was arrested on March 21 and subsequently remanded to the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) custody first till March 28 by a Delhi court, faces allegations of direct involvement in a conspiracy related to the formulation of the excise policy favouring specific individuals.

A Delhi court sent him to the ED custody till April 1 earlier during the day.

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