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Excise policy case: Delhi HC dismisses CM Kejriwal’s plea challenging arrest by ED, remand order by trial court

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New Delhi, April 9:  The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest by the ED and the trial court order remanding him to the agency’s custody.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who presided over the case noted the ED’s submission that CM Kejriwal was in possession of enough material which had led them to arrest him.

“The files and material placed before us reveal that the mandate of law was followed by the ED. The trial court order is not a two line order. The statements with ED are of hawala dealers as well as AAP candidates in Goa elections,” the court noted.

Last week, the ED had filed its counter-affidavit to CM Kejriwal’s petition. Since his counsel Ramesh Gupta had submitted before Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Court that CM Kejriwal has no objection to the custody/remand being extended further, it had said that the “petitioner (Kejriwal) has waived his right to question his custody as on today and the petitioner cannot now be allowed to argue that his custody as on today is illegal and present petition is liable to be dismissed on this ground alone.”

The ED had submitted that the remand order dated March 22 and the subsequent remand orders dated March 28 and April 1 under challenge are detailed and well-reasoned orders as is evident on a bare reading of the said orders and hence “warrant no interference.”

The agency had said that it complied with all procedural requirements of Section 19(1) and (2) of the PMLA as well as Article 22(1) and (2) of the Constitution of India during the arrest and remand of CM Kejriwal.

The agency had claimed that the AAP leader was the kingpin and key conspirator of the Delhi excise scam in collusion with ministers of the Delhi government, AAP leaders and other persons and that it has material in possession which demonstrates that he is guilty of the offence of money laundering.

The ED had also alleged that CM Kejriwal was directly involved in the formulation of the Excise Policy 2021-22, drafted “considering the favours to be granted to the South Group” and that he demanded kickbacks from the South Group in exchange for favours to them in the formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

The Delhi High Court had, on March 27, refused any interim relief to CM Kejriwal, who was arrested by the ED on March 21 and is currently in judicial custody till April 15.

“… the respondent has to be granted an opportunity to file a reply, as an opportunity for effective representation, and declining this opportunity would amount to a denial of fair hearing as well as violation of one of the principles of natural justice i.e., audi alteram partem, which is applicable to both the parties and not one,” the court had observed.

IANS

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