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Delhi Excise Policy Scam: Delhi High Court rejects bail to Arvind Kejriwal, criticises trial court for mishandling the case

The Delhi High Court’s interim stay was challenged by Kejriwal in the Supreme Court on 24th June. The Apex Court termed the stay order as “unusual” but decided to wait for the final order by the High Court. The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court on 26th June.

On 25th June, the Delhi High Court set aside the trial court’s order granting bail to Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, in the alleged Delhi Excise Policy Scam case. The matter is under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In the order, Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain criticised the trial court for mishandling the case. Justice Jain stated that the trial court did not consider the material submitted by the ED properly and failed to provide adequate opportunity for the ED to argue its case. Justice Jain said, “The observation by the trial court that voluminous material cannot be considered is unjustified and shows that the trial court has not applied its mind to the material.”

On 20th June, a vacation bench of the Trial Court granted bail to Arvind Kejriwal. The decision was challenged in the High Court by the ED seeking a stay on the bail order. The High Court noted that the trial court did not address the twin conditions for bail properly under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “There was a strong argument that the twin condition of Section 45 PMLA was not deliberated by the vacation judge. This court thinks that Section 45 PMLA has not been properly discussed by the trial court,” the High Court said. 

Furthermore, the High Court pointed out that the Trial Court’s findings of malafides on the ED’s part were incorrect. The court referred to the previous order of the High Court that rejected Kejriwal’s claim of malafides. Justice Jain said, “The trial court should not have given any finding which is opposite to the finding of the High Court.”

In its order, the Trial Court had granted bail to Kejriwal on a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh. Special Judge (PC Act) Niyay Bindu of the Rouse Avenue Court had stated that the ED failed to provide direct evidence linking Kejriwal to the crime proceeds and did not show that another accused, Vijay Nair, acted on Kejriwal’s behalf. However, the ED argued that Kejriwal was involved in a conspiracy to manipulate the Delhi Excise Policy for 2021-22 that benefitted the liquor sellers. ED also stated that kickbacks from the sellers were allegedly used by AAP in the election campaign in the Goa State Elections.

The Delhi High Court’s interim stay was challenged by Kejriwal in the Supreme Court on 24th June. The Apex Court termed the stay order as “unusual” but decided to wait for the final order by the High Court. The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court on 26th June.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested in the Delhi Excise Policy Scam case on 21st March after he failed to appear at the ED office for questioning nine times. Nine of the ED’s notices to appear were ignored by Delhi’s CM and they were challenged in the court. The court questioned ED why AAP, the political party, was not made a party in the matter and refused to grant any relief to Kejriwal. ED then went to his residence for questioning and subsequently, Delhi CM was arrested in the matter. Apart from Kejriwal, Delhi’s former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia is also currently lodged in jail in the matter. Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh however was granted bail.

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