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Delhi Chief Minister withdraws plea before Supreme Court against ED arrest

Supreme Court declined to provide immediate relief to arrested BRS leader K Kavitha
02:59 PM Mar 22, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
delhi chief minister withdraws plea before supreme court against ed arrest
Delhi Chief Minister withdraws plea before Supreme Court against ED arrest --- Photo: ANI
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New Delhi, Mar 22: The Delhi Excise Policy case continues to draw attention in the Supreme Court today, highlighting the intersection of politics and law enforcement. Several simultaneous trials are taking place.

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In one of the events, Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal withdrew his plea before the Supreme Court challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi excise policy case. The decision came after hours of speculation and a riveting courtroom episode on Friday morning.

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Kejriwal's counsel, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, informed the top court that they would argue the case regarding Kejriwal's remand when ED presented him before the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi.

"We are withdrawing the petition here as it is clashing with the remand. We will argue the remand and come back here. I will give a letter to the Registry," Singhvi stated.

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The Court, accepting the request, allowed the withdrawal. Kejriwal had approached the apex court through a writ petition after being denied interim protection from arrest by the Delhi High Court earlier.

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ED arrested Kejriwal on Thursday night following a late-night search at his residence, prompting him to seek relief from the Supreme Court.

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Initially, the matter was mentioned before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, who directed it to be heard by a special bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna. However, Kejriwal subsequently informed the Court of his decision to withdraw the plea, bringing an unexpected end to the proceedings.

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The ED's money laundering probe is rooted in a case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding alleged irregularities in the Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22.

The case, initiated based on a complaint by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, alleges a criminal conspiracy involving AAP leaders, including former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and unnamed private individuals/entities during the policy formulation stage.

Kejriwal's repeated refusal to comply with ED summons led to his arrest, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader denouncing the agency's actions as politically motivated. Sisodia and AAP Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh are already incarcerated in connection with the case.

On March 15, 2024, the ED arrested K Kavitha, adding another prominent figure to the list of individuals behind bars amid the ongoing investigation.

In the second event, the Supreme Court declined to provide immediate relief to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, who was recently apprehended by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case linked to the Delhi Excise Policy.

The decision came as a special bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh, and Bela M Trivedi asserted that Kavitha must pursue bail through the trial court.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Kavitha, was informed by the Court that bail pleas must be addressed at the trial level under Article 32, refraining from delving into the case's merits.

However, the Court issued notice on Kavitha's challenge against certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and merged it with petitions seeking a review of the Vijay Madanlal judgment.

While emphasizing the need for an expeditious decision on her bail plea, the Court avoided commenting on the case's substance. Kavitha had moved to the Supreme Court after her arrest, following which a Delhi court remanded her to ED custody for a week.

Sibal urged the Court not to insist on approaching the High Court initially, citing the gravity of the situation. However, the Court remained firm, underlining the procedural necessity for seeking bail at the trial court level.

The ED alleges that Kavitha was associated with a lobby of liquor traders seeking to influence the now-defunct Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22, indicating kickbacks worth ₹100 crore involving AAP leaders.

Despite previous summons, Kavitha had avoided deposition, citing protection from coercive action granted by the Supreme Court.

The List of political figures implicated in the excise policy case so far includes former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh already in custody, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, apprehended recently and K Kavitha.

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