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Kejriwal fails to get immediate relief from SC in money laundering case

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NEW DELHI, May 7: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with a two-judge bench rising without pronouncing an order on granting him interim bail to enable him to campaign in the Lok Sabha elections.

Kejriwal has been accused of money laundering in a case linked to the alleged Delhi excise scam.

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A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, which reserved its order on grant of interim bail earlier during the day and said it will be pronounced at 2 p.m., rose without delivering its verdict.

The bench reserved its decision after hearing the arguments put forth by senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi and Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who appeared for Kejriwal and the Enforcement Directorate, respectively.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who also appeared for the probe agency, staunchly opposed showing any leniency to Kejriwal on account of the Lok Sabha polls and said granting interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor would amount to creating a separate class for politicians.

The bench has divided the hearing on Kejriwal’s petition against his arrest into two parts. His main petition challenges his arrest by the ED and seeks it to be declared as illegal, while the second aspect pertains to grant of interim bail  keeping in mind the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. The court has reserved the order on the issue of grant of interim bail.

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Before rising for the day, the bench indicated that tomorrow the judges will be sitting in different combinations, and if the hearing on matters listed for Wednesday gets completed and the judges have time in hand, they would resume hearing Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest by the ED.

“If not tomorrow, then we may take up the matter on Thursday. If not on Thursday, then we will be taking up this matter next week,” said Justice Khanna, without specifying any time frame for pronouncement of verdict on the issue of interim bail.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court extended Kejriwal’s judicial custody in the money laundering case till May 20.

Special Judge for CBI and ED matters Kaveri Baweja extended Kejriwal’s custody after the AAP leader was produced before the court through a video conference on the expiry of his remand granted earlier.

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Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

On April 9, the Delhi High Court had upheld Kejriwal’s arrest, saying there was no illegality and the ED was left with “little option” after he skipped repeated summonses and refused to join the investigation.

The matter relates to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22. (PTI)







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