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ED arrests Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in excise policy scam

New Delhi. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from his home after two hours of questioning in a money laundering case related to the excise policy scam.

Earlier on Thursday, the Delhi High Court had refused to grant interim protection to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against any “punitive action” by the ED in the case. The division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain, after hearing the arguments of both the parties, refused to pass any order granting interim relief at this time.

After this, an ED team reached the Chief Minister’s residence in the evening.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Arvind Kejriwal in the High Court, argued that the ED summons lacked clarity about the capacity under which Kejriwal has been summoned to appear. He accused the agency of attempting to cause trouble amid the upcoming elections.

Singhvi argued against the need for Kejriwal’s arrest, saying the ED should demonstrate a valid reason for such action rather than using the power arbitrarily. He termed the ED’s action as politically motivated and vague.

In response, ASG S.V. along with special counsel Zoheb Hussain, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Raju opposed granting interim relief, saying the law should be applied equally to all persons, irrespective of their status.

He clarified that Kejriwal was called not in his capacity as Chief Minister or Aam Aadmi Party chief, but in his personal capacity. He stressed the need to interrogate him on the basis of available evidence.

Reiterating the alleged lack of maintainability in the petition, Raju said that considering the application for interim relief would lead to premature hearing of the main petition where the issue of maintainability remains unresolved.

He dismissed Kejriwal’s concerns about Aam Aadmi Party’s involvement in the case, saying neither Kejriwal nor the party is named as an accused in the FIR.

The ED had last week issued its ninth summons to Kejriwal in the excise policy case, asking him to appear before it on Thursday.

The CM moved the court to avoid any coercive action and said that there was a clear intention to arrest him and hence he would not appear before the agency.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain had on Wednesday asked CM Kejriwal why he does not appear upon summons.

In response, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, said he was not absconding and would appear provided he is given security and an order “not to take any coercive steps” in his favour.

Besides, the court had asked the ED to respond on the maintainability of Kejriwal’s plea challenging the nine summons issued to him by the agency.

The bench fixed the next hearing of the case on April 22.

A magistrate court had on March 16 granted bail to CM Kejriwal in complaints filed by the ED for not complying with the agency’s summons issued to him in a money laundering case related to the now-concluded excise policy case.

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