Excise Policy case: Delhi HC refuses to grant Interim Protection to CM Kejriwal

Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to grant interim protection to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on his plea for “no coercive action” by the ED in connection with the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain, after hearing arguments from both sides, declined to pass any order granting interim relief at this juncture.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Arvind Kejriwal, contended that the ED’s summons lacked clarity regarding the capacity in which Kejriwal was called to appear, accusing the agency of attempting to create an uneven playing field amidst upcoming elections.

Singhvi argued against the necessity of Kejriwal’s arrest, saying that the ED must demonstrate a valid reason for such action rather than exercising power arbitrarily. He labelled the ED’s actions as politically motivated and vague.

In response, ASG SV Raju along with special counsel Zoheb Hossain, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), opposed granting interim relief, saying that the law must be applied uniformly to all individuals, regardless of their position.

He clarified that Kejriwal was summoned in his personal capacity, not as the Chief Minister or the Aam Aadmi Party Chief, and stressed the necessity for his interrogation based on available evidence.

Raju reiterated the plea’s alleged lack of maintainability, stating that considering the application for interim relief would prematurely advance the main petition’s hearing, where the issue of maintainability remains unresolved.

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

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

The CM, who was to appear before the ED on Thursday on the ninth summons, moved the court for no coercive action, saying there is a clear intent to arrest him and hence he won’t appear before the agency.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain had, on Wednesday, asked CM Kejriwal as to why he doesn’t appear in response to the summons.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal, in response, said that he is not running away and will appear, provided he is granted protection and a “no coercive steps” order in his favour.

Moreover, the court had asked the ED to reply on maintainability of Kejriwal’s plea challenging the agency’s nine summonses issued to him.

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The bench put up the matter for hearing on April 22.

On March 16, a magisterial court granted bail to CM Kejriwal in complaints filed by the ED over non-compliance with the agency’s summons issued to him in connection with the money laundering case related to the now-scrapped excise policy case. (IANS)

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