Kejriwal challenges his arrest in excise policy case

After his three-day custody ended on 29 June, the Delhi CM was sent to judicial custody by the court till 12 July. He has now moved Delhi HC against the CBI

Kejriwal is accused of accepting ₹100 crore in kickbacks for a favorable liquor policy (photo: PTI)
Kejriwal is accused of accepting ₹100 crore in kickbacks for a favorable liquor policy (photo: PTI)

NH Digital

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal moved the Delhi High Court, on Monday, 1 July, challenging his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the excise policy case.

On Saturday, 29 June, when Kejriwal’s three-day custody ended, he was produced in a Delhi court by CBI, after which he was sent to judicial custody by the court till 12 July. The court pointed out that his name had surfaced as one of the 'main conspirators' in the excise policy case.

The agency had sought 14-day judicial custody claiming Arvind Kejriwal didn't cooperate in the probe and gave evasive replies and claimed that he could influence witnesses.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Kejriwal on 21 March in a money-laundering probe linked to the excise policy case, was arrested by the CBI on 26 June. On 9 April, the Delhi High Court had 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.

On 20 June, Rouse Avenue court vacation judge Niyay Bindu granted regular bail to Kejriwal on the grounds that Kejriwal's guilt was yet to be established and that the ED had failed to furnish direct evidence linking him to the proceeds of crime in the money-laundering case.

The matter relates to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government's now-scrapped excise policy for 2021–22.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on 21 March, could have walked out of Tihar jail on Friday last had the high court not stayed the bail on ED’s request.

"Considering the fact that the conspiracy alleged against the accused (Kejriwal) involves a large number of persons who were involved in the formulation and implementation of excise policy and also the persons who acted as facilitators in the use of ill-gotten money, I find that there exist sufficient grounds for remanding the accused to judicial custody'," special judge Sunena Sharma said in court.

The judge said the agency required custodial interrogation of Kejriwal to "confront him with more material likely to be collected during the investigation".

"The IO has pointed out certain incriminatory material collected during the investigation for showing that the ill-gotten money was used during the Goa assembly election for making payments towards the expenses of air tickets and hotel booking during the visits of the accused to Goa from June 2021 to February 2022," the court said.

The court further said the investigating officer (IO) had pointed out in the case diary that Kejriwal was not cooperative during his custodial interrogation, nor was he truthful in disclosing facts.

On 10 May, the Supreme Court had granted Kejriwal interim bail till 1 June, the last day of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, and directed him to surrender and go back to jail on 2 June.

Kejriwal and a few AAP leaders are accused of accepting ₹100 crore as kickbacks from a group of businessmen and politicians in return for formulating a favourable liquor policy.

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