Excise policy case: Kejriwal gets 3-day CBI custody after agency arrests him

Failure to secure bail in both ED and CBI cases means he will return to judicial custody once the police remand ends

Arvind Kejriwal at the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on 26 June 2024 (photo: PTI)
Arvind Kejriwal at the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on 26 June 2024 (photo: PTI)


A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to the CBI's custody for three days after the central agency arrested him in a corruption case related to the alleged excise scam.

Special Judge Amitabh Rawat passed the order on an application moved by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which formally arrested Kejriwal after obtaining permission from the court.

"The CBI's application is allowed for three days. The accused be produced before 7 pm," the judge said.

The application seeking Kejriwal's arrest was moved by the CBI after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was produced before the court from the Tihar jail, where he was lodged in judicial custody in a money-laundering case linked to the excise "scam" being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Kejriwal will remain in the CBI's custody until his custodial interrogation in the corruption case comes to an end, which can go on for a maximum of 15 days.

If he fails to secure bail in both the cases being probed by the CBI and ED, he will go back to judicial custody once his police remand ends in the present case.

The court had, on 19 June, extended Kejriwal's judicial custody in the money-laundering case till 3 July.

In the application seeking the AAP leader's custody, the CBI told the court that he was required to be quizzed for unearthing the larger conspiracy in the matter.

It said Kejriwal was required to be confronted with the other accused and evidence in the case.

Kejriwal claimed innocence before the court.

"It is being run in the media through CBI sources that I have a statement putting the entire blame on (former Delhi deputy chief minister) Manish Sisodia. I have not given any such statement that Sisodia or anyone else is guilty. I have said Sisodia is innocent, the AAP is innocent, I am innocent. Their entire plan is to defame us in the media. Please record that all these have been run in the media through CBI sources," Kejriwal told the court.

He also claimed that the agency is sensationalising the issue.

"It needs to be clarified. This will be the top headline in all the newspapers. Their aim is to sensationalise the matter," he told the court.

The CBI's counsel, however, said no sources had said any such thing.

"I argued in court. No source said anything. And I argued on facts," the counsel said.

The judge, however, said the media picks up any one line.

"It is very difficult to control the media that way," he said.

The CBI made the arrest before the court after getting permission from the judge, who passed the order on an application moved by the agency seeking the court's permission to formally arrest Kejriwal.

The application was moved by the federal agency after Kejriwal was produced before the court from the Tihar jail.

"We need his custodial interrogation. What he is doing is, he is not even recognising that (co-accused) Vijay Nair was working under him. He says, Nair was working under Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj. He puts the entire onus on Manish Sisodia (also an accused in the case). He has to be confronted. He has to be shown documents," the CBI said.

It claimed that the "south lobby" visited Delhi when the COVID-19 wave was at its peak.

"Deaths were happening. They prepare a report and give it to Abhishek Boinpally. It is sent through Vijay Nair to Manish Sisodia. No meeting was called. Signatures were obtained on the same day. On the same day, it was notified also. That was the haste. I ask myself, when there was Covid, who was at the helm of affairs? The chief minister. It was his direction. The south lobby is sitting in Delhi and they see to it that it is done, it is notified," the CBI told the court.

It accused Kejriwal of levelling an "unnecessary allegation of malice".

"An unnecessary allegation of malice is being made. We could have conducted these proceedings before the (Lok Sabha) election. I (CBI) am doing my job, satisfying every court," the agency's counsel said.

Replying to the court's "why arrest now" query, the counsel said the agency refrained from arresting Kejriwal, even from investigating the case while the polls were being held.

"The court was considering his interim bail for the election. If at that time I (CBI) would have arrested.... That shows my restraint that I did not arrest him when he was campaigning," the counsel told the court.

Kejriwal's lawyer opposed the CBI's plea seeking his custody, describing the agency's remand application as "totally vague".

"This is a classic case of abuse of power," the defence counsel said.

The defence also requested the judge to provide documents linked to the CBI proceedings against Kejriwal, including the court order related to his interrogation in the Tihar jail on Tuesday evening.

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