Excise policy case: Court reserves for June 5 order on Kejriwal's interim bail plea

A court here on Saturday reserved for June 5 its order on an application moved by Chief Minster and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal seeking interim bail in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi | A court here on Saturday reserved for June 5 its order on an application moved by Chief Minster and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal seeking interim bail in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam.

The case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) relates to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government's now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja reserved the order, observing that the application was for grant of interim bail on medical grounds and not for the extension of the interim bail granted by the Supreme Court.

The top court had on May 10 granted 21-day interim bail to the chief minister to enable him to campaign during the Lok Sabha polls. It had directed him to surrender on June 2, a day after the last phase of the seven-phase poll gets over.

Kejriwal campaigned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Maharashtra after being released from the Tihar jail.

After the judge reserved the order, Kejriwal's counsel urged the court to pass the order on Saturday itself, considering that he has to surrender on Sunday.

The judge, however, declined the request, saying the arguments and the documents submitted by the advocates of the accused as well as the prosecution was voluminous.

During the proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, told the court that Kejriwal made misleading claims at a press conference on Friday that he would surrender on June 2 on his own.

At a press conference here on Friday, Kejriwal said he will be surrendering on June 2. "I will leave my house around 3 pm (on Sunday) to surrender. It is possible that this time they will torture me more, but I will not bow down," he said.

Kejriwal had also alleged, "They tried to break me. They stopped my medicines while I was in jail. My weight reduced by six kg after being arrested. My weight was 70 kg when I was arrested. I have not gained weight after coming out of jail." Doctors have advised several tests and "they feel this could be a sign of some underlying medical condition", he had claimed.

The ED's counsel said in court, "Kejriwal campaigned throughout his interim bail period and, now, he suddenly claims he is ill. Kejriwal suppressed facts and made false statements, including about his health." Kejriwal's counsel told the court that he was ill and needed treatment.

The ED said the interim bail is not maintainable as the trial court cannot modify the order of the Supreme Court mandating Kejriwal to surrender on June 2.

"The Supreme Court order says he will surrender. That order has not been modified till date. He has to surrender. He is not on interim bail because of this court's order. He is on interim bail because SC order. He is asking for extension of the Supreme Court order, which is not permissible," the probe agency's counsel said.

The liberty granted to him is that he will apply for regular bail, and there is no liberty for extension of interim bail, Mehta said.

"A person who is saying that his condition is serious, look at his conduct. From the day he was released, he is campaigning everywhere and not like one minute or two minutes, its for hours. At that time, nothing happens to his health," he said.

The ED alleged that Kejriwal wants to cheat the court by delaying medical tests. "If any tests are required, we'll provide all facilities in jail. If required we will take (Kejriwal) to AIIMS or any hospital," it said.

The ED's counsel, "A person who claims on TV that I may die, kidney failure etc, didn't go for a basic test since May 25? The entire system cannot be taken for a joy ride. It is a game being played by the litigant with the system. The prayers may not be granted." Seeking the relief, Kejriwal's counsel told the court that despite his ill health, the AAP leader campaigned because that was the purpose for which the interim bail was granted by the Supreme Court.

"Stress due to the campaign increased his sugar level. Today, when I (Kejriwal) go back to jail without tests being done, I am subjecting myself to risks. This is only to ensure the fact that the treatment given to me is in conformity to the ailment I have. I am not asking for interim bail for two months or three months. What is the prejudice that will cause to them," the counsel asked.

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