Relief for Arvind Kejriwal, Supreme Court grants interim bail till June 1.

Aam Admi Party National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal received a big relief from the Supreme Court, which on Friday granted him interim bail till June 1 in the excise policy case.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta granted the Delhi Chief Minister interim bail in the money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The bench on Wednesday told Enforcement Directorate counsel Additional Solicitor General SV Raju that it may pass the order on interim relief to Kejriwal today.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

On Tuesday, the bench hinted at granting interim bail to Kejriwal to enable him to campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, it had also said that if interim bail were granted, Kejriwal would not be allowed to discharge any official duties as Chief Minister.

The Enforcement Directorate had opposed his bail in the top court, which was hearing arguments on interim bail to Kejriwal. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, also representing ED, told the bench at an earlier hearing that there can’t be any deviation only because Kejriwal is Chief Minister and asked if the Supreme Court is carving out exceptions for politicians.

“How can a Chief Minister be treated differently from an aam aadmi? There can’t be any deviation only because he is a chief minister. Would campaigning for elections be more important?” he had told the bench. To this, the bench said that elections are held once every five years.

Meanwhile, the legal team of Kejriwal, had raised a strong objection to the affidavit filed by the ED opposing interim bail in the Supreme Court.

Questioning the ED’s objection to the interim bail of Kejriwal, the AAP said that it is well known that even after two years of investigation by the ED in the alleged liquor scam, not a single rupee or piece of evidence has been “recovered” incriminating anybody in Aam Aadmi Party.

Further, the grounds for the arrest of Kejriwal are based on statements made by other implicated persons, viz., Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Sarath Reddy, Satya Vijay Naik, and a close aide of an ex-BJP CM. The AAP mentioned that the ED illegally ‘picked up’ a sitting Chief Minister and the National Convenor of a national party on March 21, that is, five days after the General Elections were announced and the Model Code of Conduct was put in place.

The party stated that the ED has not only been opaque and dictatorial in its approach but also guilty of suggesting falsehood and suppressing truth.
On April 9, the High Court dismissed his plea for release from jail and rejected his argument of political vendetta amid the looming Lok Sabha elections. The High Court had said that Kejriwal’s absence from nine ED summons over six months undermined any claims of special privilege as Chief Minister, suggesting his arrest was an inevitable consequence of his non-cooperation.

Arvind Kejriwal is now likely to join the AAP campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Delhi goes to the polls on May 25.