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SC bench rises without pronouncing order on interim bail to Kejriwal

Delhi court extends judicial custody till May 20

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who also appeared for the probe agency, staunchly opposed showing any leniency to Kejriwal on account of the Lok Sabha polls.

Arvind KejriwalNEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal failed to get any relief from Supreme Court in the Delhi liquor policy case on Tuesday, as the apex court’s two-judge bench, led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, rised without passing judgement on his bail plea. The bench said they would hear it again on Thursday or next week.

During the course of the hearing, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Supreme Court that the accused, Kejriwal, stayed at the 7 star Grand Hyatt hotel during 2022 Goa Assembly election and its bill was paid by Chanpreet Singh, who allegedly accepted cash funds for AAP’s campaign.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, senior law officer, represting the ED, submitted that the case was not politically motivated.

“We are not concerned about politics, we are concerned about evidence and we have it,” Raju said.

“At the nascent stage of the investigation, Arvind Kejriwal was not the focus which is why ED was not looking at that. His role became clearer only when the investigation progressed,” ED explained before the court.

Justice Khanna, the judge leading the bench, questioned the ED as to why the investigation took so long and why important questions were not asked.

Raju replied that the investigating officer works as per his own speed and went on to defend the arrest of Kejriwal.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna further observed during the hearing that it was not good for any investigating agency (ED) to say that it took 2 years to unearth a case.

“He is an elected CM of Delhi. There are elections. These are extraordinary circumstances. He’s not a habitual offender. These factors may be considered for granting some kind of interim bail,” Justice Khanna said.

Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, also appearing for ED asked, “What example were we sitting? Are other people less important than CM?”

The apex court, however observed that national elections are held once in 5 years and participation of a politician in the election is important, although it opined that politicians should not be treated separately.

“Elections are around the corner and we are thinking on that perspective:,” Justice Khanna said.

SG Mehta further said that if Kejriwal had appeared before the ED, when it issued him summons, then his arrest would not have happened. SG Mehta said that he had allegedly evaded ED summons for 9 times and for a period of 6 months. “6 precious months have been lost in the process,” he said.

Observing that bail is granted even in henious offences, SC reiterated that this is an extraordinary case and Kejriwal is not a habitual offender or is not involved in any other case.

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