Live Update: Supreme Court Questions ED on Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest in Alleged Liquor Scandal

The Supreme Court of India has raised questions regarding the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is implicated in an alleged liquor scandal. On Tuesday, a significant hearing took place where the apex court considered granting interim bail to Kejriwal for election campaigning purposes.

Kejriwal has challenged his arrest, initially upheld by the High Court, at the Supreme Court, claiming it was unwarranted under the circumstances. The hearing, presided over by Justices Sanjeev Khanna and Deepankar Datta, is crucial as it could determine whether Kejriwal will be able to campaign in the remaining phases of the Lok Sabha elections, especially with voting in Delhi scheduled for May 25.

During the proceedings, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Raju presented arguments on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), mentioning a ₹100 crore hawala transaction initially not aimed directly at Kejriwal but later implicating him as the investigation progressed. Raju emphasized that the authenticity of statements made during the investigation would be determined by the investigating officer, highlighting that all statements were recorded under CCTV surveillance and independently before a magistrate under Section 164 CRPC.

Justice Khanna specifically requested to see the case files and office notings to understand the ED’s rationale in the investigation timeline. Questions were also raised about the escalation of the alleged bribe from ₹100 crore to ₹1,100 crore over two years, which ED claims includes profits from liquor companies, a point contested by the court as not directly correlatable to criminal proceeds.

The justices queried ED extensively about the procedural aspects and the evidence against Kejriwal and his aide Manish Sisodia. Justice Khanna pointed out the inordinate delay in the investigative process, stating that no investigative agency should take two years to reveal findings.

ASG Raju mentioned specific instances from the investigation, like Kejriwal’s stay at a 7-star hotel in Goa during the elections, alleging that the expenses were borne by an individual involved in the cash transactions. However, he defended the investigation’s integrity, asserting it was not politically motivated.

The court is examining the appropriateness of the arrest and whether Kejriwal, being the elected Chief Minister of Delhi amid ongoing elections, should be granted interim bail to allow him to campaign, considering the extraordinary circumstances.

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Justice Khanna noted the need for consistency in the legal treatment of all individuals, regardless of their political status, emphasizing the importance of not making exceptions for political figures. The hearing is set to continue, with both sides presenting further arguments. The decision on interim bail is expected by 12:30 PM, following which a half-hour will be allotted for the Kejriwal team to present their case.

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