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Delhi HC to hear Kejriwal’s plea against ED summons today

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NEW DELHI, April 21: The Delhi High Court will on Monday hear chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition challenging the summonses issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its probe into an excise policy-linked money laundering case.

Kejriwal, arrested by the agency on March 21 after the high court refused to grant him interim protection from coercive action, has also challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act with respect to arrest, questioning and grant of bail.

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The plea is scheduled for hearing before the bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain.

The AAP national convenor had approached the high court in the wake of the ninth summons issued by the ED asking him to appear before it on March 21. The high court bench on March 20 asked the ED to file its reply with respect to the maintainability of the petition.

The next day, it asked ED to also respond to Kejriwal’s plea seeking protection from arrest, saying “at this stage” it was not inclined to grant any interim relief. Kejriwal was arrested by ED later that evening and is presently in judicial custody.

The federal probe agency has alleged that the accused were in touch with Kejriwal for formulating the now-scrapped excise policy that resulted in undue benefits to them, in return of kickbacks to the AAP.

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In the plea, Kejriwal has raised several issues, including whether a political party is covered under the anti-money laundering law. It alleged that the arbitrary procedure under PMLA was being used to create a non-level playing field for the general elections to “skew the electoral process in the favour of the ruling party at the Centre”.

Stating the petitioner is a “vocal critic” of the ruling party, a partner of the INDIA bloc, the plea claimed that the ED being in control of the Union government has been “weaponized”. (PTI)

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