Delhi court grants bail to Arvind Kejriwal in money laundering case

Special Judge Niyay Bindu declined the Enforcement Directorate's prayer to keep in abeyance the bail order for 48 hours to allow the central agency to appeal against it in a superior court.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses at the AAP office ahead of his surrender at the Tihar jail, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses at the AAP office ahead of his surrender at the Tihar jail, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 2, 2024.

New Delhi | In a huge relief to embattled Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a court here on Thursday granted him bail in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise scam.

Special Judge Niyay Bindu also declined the Enforcement Directorate's prayer to keep in abeyance the bail order for 48 hours to allow the central agency to avail legal remedies like moving a superior court in appeal.

The judge ordered Kejriwal's release on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh but imposed certain conditions before granting him the relief, including that he will not try to hamper the investigation or influence the witnesses.

The judge also directed Kejriwal to appear before the court whenever required and to cooperate with the investigation.

The judge had reserved the order earlier during the day after hearing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which sought to link Kejriwal to the alleged proceeds of crime and co-accused, and the defence that claimed the prosecution has no evidence to nail the AAP leader.

Kejriwal's lawyers are likely to submit the bail bond before the court tomorrow, after which he would be released from Tihar jail.

On the other hand, the ED is also likely to challenge the bail order before a higher court in the coming days.

However, the grant of regular bail to the AAP national convenor will give his Aam Aadmi Party and its allies a stick to beat the Modi government with as, according to Section 45 of the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), bail can be granted only if the judge is prima facie satisfied that the accused has not committed the offence and that he is unlikely to commit any offence while on bail.

A detailed order, however, is awaited.

The ED had arrested Kejriwal on March 21, shortly after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him protection from arrest on his petition challenging summonses issued to him.

On May 10, the Supreme Court had granted interim bail to Kejriwal till June 1 to campaign in the Lok Sabha elections, saying he will have to surrender and go back to jail on June 2. Kejriwal had surrendered before Tihar jail authorities on June 2 and has been there since then.

The trial court had on June 5 denied him interim bail which he sought citing several ailments.

'Satyamev Jayate,' says Atishi on bail to Kejriwal; party welcomes leader

New Delhi | AAP leader Atishi reacted to the grant of bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday by saying 'Satyamev Jayate" (truth alone triumphs). Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement directorate on March 21 in a money laundering case linked to the now scrapped excise policy of his government.

"Satyamev Jayate," Delhi minister Atishi posted on X.

Feeling vindicated, the Aam Aadmi Party said truth cannot be defeated, only harassed.

"Truth can be troubled, not defeated. Rejecting all the objections raised by BJP's ED, the Honorable Court has granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister @ArvindKejriwal," the party said in a post on X.

Chronology of events in money laundering case involving Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi | Following is the chronology of events in the excise policy-linked money laundering case in which a Delhi court on Thursday granted regular bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal:

* November 2021: Delhi government introduces new excise policy.

* July 2022: Lt Governor VK Saxena recommends CBI probe into alleged irregularities in formulation and implementation of policy.

* August 2022: CBI and Enforcement Directorate register cases in connection with alleged irregularities.

* September 2022: Delhi government scraps excise policy.

* October 30, 2023: ED sends first summons to Kejriwal in money laundering case for appearance on November 2.

* December 2023: ED issues two more summonses to Kejriwal for questioning on December 21 and January 3.

* January 2024: Two more summonses sent to Kejriwal by ED for January 18 and February 2.

* February 3: ED files complaint against Kejriwal before magisterial court for skipping summonses.

* February 7: Magisterial court summons Kejriwal on ED complaint.

* February: ED issues summonses for appearance of Kejriwal on February 19, and March 4.

* March 7: Magisterial court issues summons to Kejriwal on ED's fresh complaint against him for evading summonses.

* March 15: Sessions court refuses to stay proceedings against Kejriwal for skipping summons.

* March 16: Magisterial court grants bail to Kejriwal in ED's complaints against him for skipping summons after he appears before it.

* March 21: Delhi HC refuses to grant protection from arrest to Kejriwal on his petition challenging summonses issued to him. ED arrests Kejriwal shortly after.

* March 23: Kejriwal moves Delhi HC challenging his arrest by ED and trial court order remanding him in agency's custody.

* April 9: HC dismisses Kejriwal's petition against arrest by ED.

* April 10: Kejriwal moves SC challenging HC order upholding his arrest by ED.

* April 15: SC seeks response from ED by April 24 on Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest.

* April 24: ED tells SC that Kejriwal led investigating officer through his conduct "to form the satisfaction" that he is guilty of money laundering.

* April 27: Kejriwal tells SC that his "illegal arrest" in case constitutes an unprecedented assault on tenets of democracy based on "free and fair elections" and "federalism".

* April 29: SC questions non-appearance of Kejriwal before ED despite repeated summonses for recording of statements and asks if he can challenge arrest on grounds of non-recording of his version.

* May 3: SC says it may consider granting interim bail to Kejriwal in view of ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

* May 8: SC says it will pronounce order on interim bail to Kejriwal on May 10.

* May 10: SC grants interim bail to Kejriwal till June 1 to campaign in Lok Sabha elections, says he will have to surrender and go back to jail on June 2.

*May 30: Kejriwal moves Delhi court seeking interim bail.

*Jun 1: Court reserves for June 5 order on Kejriwal's interim bail plea.

*Jun 5: Court denies interim bail to Kejriwal on medical grounds.

*Jun 20: Court grants regular bail to Kejriwal.

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