Judicial Custody of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Extended to July 3 in Excise Policy Scam Case

In a recent hearing, a Delhi court has extended the judicial custody of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal until July 3, related to the ongoing investigation in a money laundering case tied to the alleged excise policy scam. The hearing of his regular bail plea is also underway before Special Judge Niyay Bindu at the Rouse Avenue Court.

Chief Minister Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21, had earlier been granted interim bail by the Supreme Court until June 1 to participate in election campaigning, after which he surrendered himself to Tihar Jail.

The national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party, Kejriwal has filed for two types of bail before the Rouse Avenue Court: an interim bail on medical grounds—which was denied—and a regular bail, which is currently under deliberation.

The ED claims that Kejriwal played a direct role in creating the now-defunct Delhi excise policy, allegedly to benefit the “South Group,” a cohort said to involve individuals from Southern India. According to the ED, this group was purportedly favored to receive undue access and stakes in wholesale and multiple retail zones, beyond what policy permitted, allegedly directing Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders for the party’s campaign in the Goa Assembly elections of 2021-2022.

Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhri, representing Kejriwal, countered the allegations, stating there was no corroborative evidence to support the claims of the Rs 100 crore transaction with the South Group. Chaudhri criticized the prolonged nature of the investigations, describing them as oppressive and potentially endless.

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In the defense, Chaudhri highlighted the timing of Kejriwal’s arrest, the quality of evidence, and pointed out that his client wasn’t an accused in the initial corruption case. He emphasized that the arrest coincided suspiciously with election announcements and relied largely on statements from questionable sources.

On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the ED, argued that being named in the primary corruption case wasn’t a prerequisite for arrest under the stringent conditions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He cited material evidence against Kejriwal that was acknowledged by the High Court just before his arrest, bolstering the case for continued custody.

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