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Arvind Kejriwal turns courtroom into a saas-bahut soap, asks ASG for ‘ashirvaad’, says ED is trying to ‘crush’ AAP: Here is how the drama unfolded

The Delhi CM went on to claim that the ‘real’ liquor scam began after the Enforcement Directorate initiated the investigation. Kejriwal asserted that the ED's sole aim is to “crush” Aam Aadmi Party.

On the 28th of March, Delhi CM and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal turned the courtroom into a typical saas-bahu daily soap as he asked the Additional Solicitor General SV Raju to give him “aashirwad” (blessings) adding that he should allow him to speak. In an apparent attempt to play victim, the Delhi CM also claimed that the Enforcement Directorate of trying to “crush” the Aam Aadmi Party. This comes as the ED today produced CM Kejriwal before Rouse Avenue Court seeking an extension of his remand. The court has extended Kejriwal’s ED custody till the 1st of April.

Arvind Kejriwal delivered more of a speech in the court while making his submissions himself. “This case has been going on since two years ago. The CBI case was filed on August 2022. Then ECIR file appeared. Who arrested me? No court has found me guilty nor have I been accused. ED has filed almost 25,000 pages and has killed many witnesses,” Kejriwal told Special Judge (PC Act) Kaveri Baweja in Hindi.

When the court asked him to give his statement in writing, Kejriwal insisted on being allowed to speak and said, “Mujhe bolne dein (Let me speak).”

The AAP leader further stated that his name appeared only four times in those tens of thousands of pages, one of which was C Arvind rather than Arvind Kejriwal.

C Arvind, former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s secretary, has told police that Manish Sisodia, who was arrested in this case in February, handed him documents related to the newly formed and now scrapped Delhi excise policy.

“Mere Ghar pe dhero mantri aate Hain, wo aapas me khusir phusur karte Hain, documents dete Hain. Kya ye statement ek sitting CM ko arrest krne ke lie sufficient hai? (Lots of ministers come to my house daily, they talk among themselves, give me files. Is a statement like this sufficient to arrest a sitting Chief Minister?)” Kejriwal said.

As ASG SV Raju objected to this, Kejriwal said, “Raju sahab Mai aapse aashirwad chahta hu. Please mujhe bolne dein. (Raju Sahab I want your blessings. Please let me speak).”

Kejriwal also claimed that there are over 1 lakh pages of evidence in his favour at ED’s office, however, they are not being brought on record. The CM, however, did not mention how exactly he knows if there is any evidence in his favour.

“I just want to know, are these 4 statements sufficient to arrest a sitting CM? One lakh pages which are in the ED office have not been brought on record in our favour,” Kejriwal said.

The Delhi CM went on to claim that the ‘real’ liquor scam began after the Enforcement Directorate initiated the investigation. Kejriwal asserted that the ED’s sole aim is to “crush” Aam Aadmi Party.

“ED ke do maqsad the. Ek to AAP ko khatam karna.. Ek smokescreen create karna aur uske peechhe extortion racket karna jiske zariye wo paise ikathhe kar rahe hain (ED has two aims. To finish off AAP and to create a smokescreen and run an extortion racket to collect money),” Kejriwal alleged.

To back his accusation against ED, Kejriwal claimed, “Sarath Reddy ne Rs 55 crore ka donation BJP ko diya. Mere paas saboot hain ki ye racket chal raha hai. Money trail is established. He donated Rs50 crore to BJP after being arrested (Sarath Chandra Reddy (an accused in the case) donated ₹55 crore to BJP. I have evidence that a racket is running. Money trail is established. He donated 50 crore to BJP after being arrested).”

Although Kejriwal claimed that ED is aiming to “falsely” implicate him, he did not oppose ED’s request for an extension of his custody. “Hum ED ki remand oppose nahi kar rahe. Jitne din chaahe wo mujhe custody main rakh le. (I am not opposing the remand. ED can keep me in custody as long as they want),” he said.

Notably, ASG SV Raju raised a strong objection over Kejriwal addressing the court as he said, “He wants to play to the gallery by making submissions himself…If you don’t trust your lawyers, discharge them. There is a procedure in court sir which has to be followed. There cannot be a separate procedure just because he is a CM. Why this special treatment?”

Moreover, ASG SV Raju, representing the ED, stated that the probe agency needs to confront Kejriwal with statements from more people. For this, further custody of seven more days would be required.

“His statements have been recorded, he gave evasive replies. We need to confront him with some other people. Four more statements of AAP Goa candidates are being recorded. We will need to confront him with them,” ASG contended.

He further informed the court that Kejriwal was refusing to disclose the passwords of his accounts to the agency in a bid to prevent ED from accessing the digital data. He added that Kejriwal has been giving evasive responses to ED questions.

“He has not disclosed the passwords so we do not have access to digital data. He says he will speak to his lawyers and then decide whether the passwords are to be given or not. If he does not we will have to break open the passwords. He is not cooperating deliberately and not giving us the ITRs,” ASG Raju said.

ASG Raju also reiterated the allegations that Rs 100 crore were transferred through Hawala and utilised for AAP’s Goa election campaign. ASG continued that Rs 100 crores have been percolated through Hawala for Goa elections by South Group and there is a complete money chain. “Just because you make a statement saying you’re innocent does not make a difference,” Raju said.

ED asserted that they have evidence proving that Arvind Kejriwal sought a bribe of Rs 100 crore. “We have material to show that this very person demanded 100 crore kickback, Raju told the court.

The court has extended Kejriwal’s custody by four days. The Delhi CM will stay in ED’s custody till 1st April.

It is pertinent to note that the ED arrested Arvind Kejriwal on 21st March night in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case linked to a money laundering case. The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

Notably, two senior AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, are also in judicial custody in the excise policy case. Sisodia, who was the then Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, was arrested by the CBI on 26th February 2023, following several rounds of questioning. On 5th October, last year the ED arrested Sanjay Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member.

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