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No relief for CM Kejriwal, SC likely to hear case on May 9

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New Delhi, May 7:  The Supreme Court bench, which initially decided to pronounce its judgement on Tuesday on the interim bail plea of incarcerated Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case, will most likely take up the matter again on May 9 or the next week.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta was hearing CM Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.

CM Kejriwal promised the court to refrain from signing any official documents if granted interim bail in connection with the case. This assurance came through his counsel, Senior Advocate AM Singhvi.

Justice Khanna specifically pointed out the challenges related to CM Kejriwal’s participation in the upcoming elections and his engagement in official duties, underlining that his active involvement could lead to “cascading effects”.

Singhvi argued that CM Kejriwal was not a habitual offender and posed no threat to society, suggesting that his release would not be inappropriate.

CM Kejriwal said that he would not sign any official file given that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) would not halt government work on the basis that files were unsigned by him.

Moreover, the bench put several questions before the agency in the pre-lunch session. It asked the federal probe agency why the CM can’t be released on interim bail in view of the ongoing general elections. The court also said that this is an extraordinary situation and that it is not like he is a habitual offender.

The probe agency opposed the grant of relief saying that it would set a wrong precedent and that politicians have no special rights as compared to normal citizens.

The petition was filed challenging the April 10 judgement of the Delhi High Court which dismissed his plea challenging the ED arrest. CM Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 and has been under custody since then.

Last time, the court had told Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to get prepared on the question of interim release of the AAP supremo due to elections.

The bench had clarified that it was merely informing both sides to get prepared on the question of interim bail as the final hearing in the case could be prolonged. “If it (conclusion of hearing) is going to take time, it does appear it may take time, we may then consider the question of interim bail because of the elections,” the apex court had said. Further, it had asked ASG Raju to take instructions if CM Kejriwal, because of the position he holds, can be allowed to sign official files in custody.

 

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