Kejriwal Bail Plea in HC

Excise Case: HC To Hear Kejriwal Bail Plea on July 5

Kejriwal Bail Plea in HC

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday moved to the Delhi High Court to seek bail in a CBI case connected to the excise policy matter.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on June 26, 2024, in the case.

Kejriwal recently challenged his arrest by the CBI and the remand granted by the trial court, Delhi High Court.

Advocates Rajat Bharadwaj and Mohd Irshad mentioned the matter before the bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan for urgent listing of the matter for tomorrow. After noting the submissions, the court agreed to hear the matter on July 5, 2024.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea moved by Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Excise Policy case.

The bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, after hearing the initial submissions of Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said the reply should be filed within 7 days and the rejoinder within 2 days thereafter. The court listed the matter for a detailed hearing on July 17.

In his plea, Kejriwal submitted that his arrest was in clear violation of the statutory mandate as prescribed under Sections 41 & 60A of the CrPC. The offence alleged against him has a maximum punishment of 7 years and hence compliance with Sections 41 & 60A of the CrPC is mandatory and cannot be obviated by the investigating officer. In the present case, despite the offence being punishable by seven years, the requirement of Section 41A & 60A notice was not adhered to by the Investigating officer and hence his arrest without compliance with the requirement as mandated under law is illegal and non-est in law.

No proper justification or reasoning was provided for the arrest, especially considering the investigation has been ongoing for two years, stated Arvind Kejriwal in his plea before the Delhi High Court.

Kejriwal’s plea further stated that his arrest was allegedly based on material in CBI’s possession before June 4, adding that the arrest on previously available material is illegal as it involves re-evaluation, which is not permitted by law.

The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi on June 29, sent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Judicial custody in connection with the excise policy case.

CBI had alleged that during the police custody remand, the accused, Arvind Kejriwal, was examined/ interrogated. However, he did not cooperate with the investigation and deliberately gave evasive replies contrary to the evidence on record.

On being confronted with the evidence, he did not give a proper and truthful explanation regarding the enhancement of the profit margin for wholesalers from 5 per cent to 12 per cent under new Excise Policy of Delhi 2021-22, without any study or justification, said the CBI.

Kejriwal also could not explain why, during the peak of the second wave of COVID, the Cabinet approval for a revised Excise Policy was hurriedly obtained through circulation within 1 day, when the accused persons of the South Group were camping in Delhi and holding meetings with his close associate Vijay Nair, CBI said.

Kejriwal evaded the questions regarding the meetings of his associate Vijay Nair with various stakeholders of the liquor business in Delhi and demanded illegal gratification from them for favourable provisions in the upcoming Excise Policy, the CBI added.

Kejriwal also could not give a proper explanation regarding his meeting with Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, accused Arjun Pandey, and accused Mootha Gautham of India Ahead News. He also evaded questions regarding the transfer and utilisation of ill-gotten money to the tune of Rs 44.54 crore in the Goa Assembly Elections by his party during 2021-22, the CBI said.

In light of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, further custodial interrogation of the accused, Arvind Kejriwal, is not required at this stage, the CBI said.

CBI alleged that Kejriwal was deliberately and intentionally evading the just and relevant questions related to the case.

Kejriwal, being a prominent politician and Chief Minister of Delhi, is a very influential person, as such, there are credible reasons to believe that Kejriwal may have influenced the witnesses and evidence already exposed before him during the custodial interrogation and also the potential witnesses, who are yet to be examined, tamper with the evidence to be further collected and may hamper the ongoing investigation, the CBI added.

On June 26, the CBI arrested the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor, Kejriwal, after the Vacation Judge of Delhi Court allowed CBI to examine/interrogate him in the courtroom so that the agency could proceed with his formal arrest.

The Delhi High Court recently stayed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s bail order passed by the trial court, saying that the trial court should have at least recorded its satisfaction with the fulfilment of twin conditions of Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before passing the impugned order. (ANI)

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