Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Remanded to ED Custody Until March 28

Arvind Kejriwal to ED custody

In a significant development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been remanded to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody until March 28 in a case related to the excise policy. The ED has accused Kejriwal of money laundering and demanding kickbacks, alleging his involvement in the Punjab elections and tracing Hawala trails used in the Goa election.

During the court proceedings, the ED informed a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that Kejriwal is the kingpin and key conspirator of the Delhi liquor scam, allegedly colluding with his ministers and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders. The ED claimed that Kejriwal “took advantage” of his position as the Chief Minister of Delhi to facilitate money laundering by the AAP, which is a “major beneficiary” of the proceeds of crimes generated in the alleged liquor scam case.

The federal agency sought Arvind Kejriwal’s custody, stating in its remand papers that he was involved in the conspiracy of formulating the excise policy 2021-22 to favor certain individuals and also involved in demanding kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange for favors granted in the said policy.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, representing the ED, sought a 10-day remand of Kejriwal in the trial court. The ED alleged that Kejriwal acted as the middleman between the ‘South group‘ and the accused in the liquor scam, receiving several crores of rupees as kickbacks from this group for formulating and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy.

The ED further claimed that ahead of the Punjab elections, Kejriwal had demanded Rs 100 crore from some accused from the South group. The agency argued in court that the AAP is not an individual, but a company, and every person responsible for the conduct of a company will be held responsible.

ASG SV Raju submitted that the proceeds of crime are not only just Rs 100 crore. “Hawala trails of Rs 45 crores traced, the money was used in Goa election,” he said.

The ED counsel claimed that Vijay Nair, who was the media in charge of AAP, was working for Delhi CM Kejriwal. Vijay Nair, who the agency said lives adjacent to the residence of Arvind Kejriwal, acted as a middleman between the AAP and the ‘South Group’.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Arvind Kejriwal, opposed the remand plea and submitted that the agency needs to show the necessity to arrest.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the power of arrest and the necessity of arrest are two different things. He further stated that this is the first time in the history of 75 years of independence that a sitting chief minister is arrested, along with four leaders of his party. Abhishek Manu Singhvi further said it’s like having the result before the first vote is cast.

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