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Court extends Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s judicial custody till July 3

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NEW DELHI, Jun 19: A Delhi court on Wednesday extended till July 3 the judicial custody of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise scam.

Special Judge Niyay Bindu extended the custody of Kejriwal after he was produced before the court through video conference on expiry of his judicial custody granted earlier.

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During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Kejriwal opposed the ED’s application seeking extension of his custody, saying there were no grounds justifying extension of his custody.

The judge also heard submissions on the bail application moved by Kejriwal in the case.

The judge will resume hearing arguments on the application on Thursday.

During the arguments, the Kejriwal’s counsel told the court that the entire case upon the CM rests on statements.

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“Those statements are of those people who have confessed themselves to be guilty. They are not saints here. They are those who are not only tainted but it appears, some were arrested and they were given a promise of bail and promise of being granted pardon. Approvers. And there is another category who have not been arrested,” the counsel said.

He added that if the quality was only statements, then it was a circumstantial evidence.

“Circumstances have to be so intrinsically linked to lead to the guilt. This statement by tainted persons discredits the case of prosecution. There is no evidence that Rs 100 crore came from South Group. These are all statements. There is no evidence,” the counsel said.

He further said that there were several contradictory statements of the co-accused persons.

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“I won’t be surprised if another statement is recorded to fill the lacunae. This is the process they follow. The investigations are always unending. Whenever they want they implicate anyone. This is the biggest instrument of oppression,” he added.

The counsel also said that the Supreme Court had granted the interim bail after being satisfied that there was no likelihood that Kejriwal would escape from justice or influence the investigation or witnesses.

He further added that the CM had no criminal antecedent.

The ED opposed the application, claiming that “the requirement is not that you don’t have antecedents”.

“…that I hold a constitutional post is not relevant for grant of bail under PMLA. It may be an additional factor for refusing bail but the only factor which is relevant is whether he is guilty,” the counsel for the central agency said.

Refuting Kejriwal’s argument that the evidence was “only approvers’ statements”, the ED said it was difficult to get evidence, approvers are made.

“The law recognizes it. The law says inducements can be given. You can’t say there is inducement so… It is what the law says,” it said.

The ED further said that it was CBI’s case that Kejriwal demanded bribe, and that he asked for bribe of Rs 100 crore.

“Kejriwal asked for funds for the Aam Aadmi Party. He demanded kickbacks from South Group. You can’t say he is not guilty of offence. If AAP commits a crime, then every person in charge of the party will be deemed to be guilty,” it added.

It also said that at the time of Manish Sisodia, AAP was not made an accused.

“Now, AAP has been made an accused. Kejriwal is responsible for the conduct,” it said.

The fact that money laundering offence is committed is beyond doubt because the court has taken cognisance and it has not been challenged, it added.

“Co-accused Vijay Nair was media coordinator of AAP. He was coordinating. He was to hold meetings with those interested in liquor policy, the wholesalers. We have evidence that he was very close to Kejriwal. Demand is established.

“The money has gone to Goa. It has gone to hawala dealers. We have recorded statements. Larger chunk of amount was paid in cash is also established. The entire trail has been established,” the probe agency added. (PTI)

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