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SC questions ED on timing of Kejriwal’s arrest ahead of LS polls

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NEW DELHI, April 30: Terming life and liberty as “exceedingly important”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Enforcement Directorate on the timing of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest ahead of the general elections in the excise policy-linked money laundering case.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, which continued hearing on the Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest for the consecutive day, posed several queries to Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, and sought his reply on Friday.
“Life and liberty are exceedingly important. You can’t deny that,” the bench told Raju and sought his reply, saying, “the last question is with regard to the timing of the arrest, which they have pointed out, the timing of the arrest, soon before the general elections.” The bench also flagged the long time gap between initiation of adjudication proceedings in the case and the action of arrest, saying the section 8 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provides a maximum limit of 365 days.
The apex court is likely to continue hearing on Kejriwal’s plea on Friday as the two judges will be sitting in different combinations from Wednesday.
On Monday, the top court questioned the non-appearance of Kejriwal before the ED despite repeated summonses for recording of statements, and asked if he can challenge the arrest in a money laundering case related to the excise policy scam on the ground of non-recording of his version.
Kejriwal is currently lodged in the Tihar jail here under judicial custody after his arrest on March 21 in the case.
The top court issued ED a notice on April 15 and sought its response to Kejriwal’s plea.
On April 9, the high court upheld Kejriwal’s arrest, saying there was no illegality and the ED was left with “little option” after he skipped repeated summonses and refused to join the investigation.
The matter pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s now scrapped excise policy for 2021-22. (PTI)

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