Arvind Kejriwal arrested by CBI in liquor policy case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Wednesday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the liquor policy case, Bar and Bench reported.

The Aam Aadmi Party chief is already in jail after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in the money-laundering case related to the now-scrapped liquor policy.

On Wednesday, Special Judge Amitabh Rawat allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation to interrogate Kejriwal following which the agency arrested him, reported Bar and Bench. A day earlier, the central agency recorded Kejriwal’s statement from jail and sought to produce him before the trial court on Wednesday.

The case by the Central Bureau of Investigation was registered on a complaint made by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on July 20, 2022.

The Central Bureau of Investigation proceeded to question Kejriwal on the same day when the Supreme Court is to pronounce its judgement on Delhi High Court’s Tuesday order that stayed his bail in the arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

Kejriwal’s counsel advocate Vivek Jain alleged that he was not informed that the Central Bureau of Investigation was moving an application before the court and securing an order to question him, reported Bar and Bench.

“We got to know about this through media,” Jain told the court. “We were not given the application [by the CBI] or the order passed [by the court].”

Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari, who also represented Kejriwal, requested the court that he be allowed to access the documents by agency and defer the hearing to Thursday.

However, the Central Bureau of Investigation argued that the investigation is its prerogative and that the law does not mandate that the accused should be informed. It said that it will place all the documents on record after the arrest is finalised.

“He [CBI counsel] says he will place on record the material that they have for his arrest,” the court said, reported Bar and Bench. “After that I will hear you [Kejriwal counsel]. We will give you the copies of the documents that you want. We will pass a judicial order.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court had said that it would hear on Wednesday the Aam Aadmi Party chief’s plea challenging the High Court’s decision to impose the interim stay on his bail. The top court also noted that it was unusual that the High Court did not release the order immediately when it stayed the lower court’s decision on Friday.

The Aam Aadmi Party chief was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21. The central law enforcement agency is investigating allegations of money laundering in the liquor policy case based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The two central agencies have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy by increasing the commission for wholesalers from 5% to 12%. This allegedly facilitated the receipt of bribes from wholesalers who had a substantial market share and turnover.

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