regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Victim of witch-hunt, falsely implicated in motivated case: Arvind Kejriwal to Delhi High Court

Opposing the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging his bail in the case, the embattled chief minister said discretionary orders of bail cannot be set aside merely on 'perceptions and fanciful imagination' of the prosecution

PTI New Delhi Published 10.07.24, 06:28 PM
Arvind Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal File picture

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has contended before the Delhi High Court that he is a victim of "witch-hunt" by the ED and that cancellation of his bail granted by a trial court in the excise policy-linked money laundering case would tantamount to "grave miscarriage of justice".

Opposing the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging his bail in the case, the embattled chief minister said discretionary orders of bail cannot be set aside merely on "perceptions and fanciful imagination" of the prosecution.


“The order passed by the special judge granting bail was not only well reasoned but prima facie showed a due application of mind in considering as well as faithfully recording and dealing with ‘relevant arguments and contentions raised on behalf of both the parties’.

"Therefore, to cancel the order would tantamount to grave miscarriage of justice,” Kejriwal said in his reply filed to the ED’s petition.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener urged the high court to dismiss ED’s petition and to vacate the June 25 interim order by which the trial court’s June 20 decision granting him bail was stayed.

On Wednesday, Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, who was scheduled to hear the ED’s plea, was informed by the counsel for the probe agency that they were served with Kejriwal’s reply to their petition only late Tuesday night and the agency required some time to file a rejoinder.

While the probe agency’s lawyer submitted that the copy of the reply was served to them at 11 pm on Tuesday, Kejriwal’s counsel maintained that it was served to the investigating officer (IO) of the case at 1 pm.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, mentioned the matter before the court, saying a specific time be fixed for the hearing as there is extreme urgency in the case.

However, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that the agency was served with the reply copy of Kejriwal only on Tuesday night and they need some time to go through the response and file their rejoinder to it.

He contended that the documents are supposed to be served to the advocate appearing in the case and not the IO.

The court said it is not disputed that the ED was served with the reply copy on Tuesday and the agency was entitled to file a rejoinder to it. The court granted time to the ED to file its rejoinder and listed the matter for hearing on July 15.

Kejriwal, in his reply, contended that the arrest was "illegally made to harass and humiliate" a political opponent and there was no material in possession of ED on the basis of which further incarceration can be justified.

“ED has implicated the respondent (Kejriwal) in a false and concocted story, no case is made out against the respondent and the arrest in the instant matter is absolutely illegal,” the reply claimed.

It further said, “The respondent is victim of witch-hunt and standard modus operandi adopted by ED to implicate its given targets wherein the ED uses illegal measures of pressurising the other co-accused and inducing them to make incriminating statement in lieu of ‘no-objection’ by ED to the grant of bail of such co-accused”.

Countering the ED’s contention that it was not given adequate opportunity by the trial court to argue its case, Kejriwal said merely because the court had regulated and controlled the manner of proceedings or asked the ED’s counsel to be brief can by no stretch of imagination be construed as curtailment of an opportunity.

“All the submissions made by ED are not only untenable in law but also reflect their apathy, insensitivity and overbearing as well as overreaching attitude towards courts of law,” the reply said.

The Delhi CM contended that no offence of money laundering was made out against him and his life and liberty must be protected from "unwarranted and unjustified violation" at the hands of the ED on the basis of a "false, malicious and motivated case".

"There exists no proof or material demonstrating that the AAP received funds or advanced kickbacks from the South group, let alone utilising them in the Goa election campaign. Not a single rupee was traced back to the AAP, and the allegations put forth in this regard are devoid of any tangible evidence, rendering them vague, baseless without any corroboration," the reply said.

It added there was no link established by the ED to claim that Rs 45 crore was transferred by the South group as advanced kickback which was then allegedly utilised by AAP in Goa elections.

On June 20, Kejriwal was granted bail by a trial court here on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh.

The ED moved the high court the next day and contended that the trial court's order was "perverse", "one-sided" and "wrong-sided" and that the findings were based on irrelevant facts.

The high court, on June 21, imposed an interim stay on the trial court’s bail order till passing of an order on ED’s application for interim relief. It had issued notice and asked Kejriwal to file a reply to ED’s petition.

On June 25, the high court passed a detailed order staying the trial court order.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED and the CBI on March 21 and June 26 respectively in the money laundering and corruption cases.

The excise policy was scrapped in 2022 after the Delhi lieutenant governor ordered a CBI probe into alleged irregularities and corruption involving its formulation and execution.

According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours extended to licence holders.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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