Excise policy case: ED opposes Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s bail plea, next hearing on June 14

- June 7, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Special Judge (PC Act) Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Courts eventually adjourned the matter by a week and posted it on June 14.

Arvind Kejriwal

Excise Policy Case: A Delhi court on Friday adjourned the bail plea filed by arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal until June 14.

When the matter was taken up today, Kejriwal’s counsel, Senior Advocate N Hariharan, sought a short adjournment until tomorrow as he needed more time to go through the 182-page reply filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Hariharan claimed that he was supplied the ED’s reply only moments before the bail hearing today.

“Advance copy doesn’t mean you give it to me half an hour before the hearing,” Hariharan said, urging the trial court to take up the matter tomorrow.

However, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju pointed out that a hearing tomorrow would cut into the trial court’s summer break, which starts tomorrow.

“We don’t only have Arvind Kejriwal’s matter. We have so many matters. We are overburdened … (If the case is posted before a vacation judge) I have cut short my vacation,” the ASG argued.

This drew a sharp response from Kejriwal’s counsel.

“It cannot be that in a bail situation, the prosecution says because I am on vacation, a bail matter may not be heard. It is unheard of,” Hariharan said.

The ASG replied that he could argue the matter without relying on the ED’s reply.

The ED’s reply furnished today need not be taken on record, he suggested.

Hariharan re-emphasised that the ED cannot prolong the bail hearing by citing court vacations or oppose a hearing before a vacation bench.

“The department cannot shut down. It is an absurd proposition. I will be incarcerated for two weeks… Why should I be kept waiting like this?” he said.

Special Judge (PC Act) Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Courts eventually adjourned the matter by a week and posted it on June 14. Vacation judge Mukesh Kumar is likely to hear the matter when it comes up next.

Special Counsel Zoheb Hossain also appeared for the ED today.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 on allegations that he was part of a conspiracy to intentionally leave loopholes in the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22, to benefit certain liquor sellers.

The ED has alleged that kickbacks received from liquor sellers were used to fund the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) electoral campaign in Goa, and Kejriwal, being the National Convenor of the party, is both personally and vicariously liable for the offence of money laundering.

Other AAP leaders arrested in the same case include former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia and Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh (out on bail).

Kejriwal remained in jail until May 10, when the Supreme Court allowed his release on interim bail to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

He returned to jail on June 2 after the interim bail period allowed by the top court ended.

The Delhi Chief Minister had filed an application seeking interim bail for seven days on medical grounds. However, that plea was rejected by Judge Baweja on June 5.    (With inputs from PTI)