Arvind Kejriwal sent to judicial custody till April 15 in liquor policy case

A Delhi court on Monday sent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15 in the liquor excise policy case, Live Law reported.

On March 21, the Aam Aadmi Party chief was sent to the central law enforcement agency’s custody​ till March 28. On Thursday, the remand was extended till April 1. Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 20.

On Monday, the Enforcement Directorate did not seek further remand of Kejriwal, Live Law reported. “We are asking for judicial custody, subject to the right of asking further custody as per SC [Supreme Court] judgement in Senthil Balaji case,” the agency’s counsel told the court.

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim relief to Kejriwal, who had challenged his arrest and custody by the Enforcement Directorate.

The High Court asked the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday to file its response to Kejriwal’s petition by April 2. The next hearing in the matter in the High Court will take place on April 3.

Kejriwal’s arrest in the liquor policy case ahead of the Lok Sabha elections has drawn reactions from the United States and Germany.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader on Thursday said in court that the case is being used to crush the party.

What is the Delhi liquor policy case?

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging irregularities in the Delhi government’s now-scrapped liquor excise policy.

The policy came into effect in November 2021. It was withdrawn on July 30, 2022, with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending an investigation into the alleged irregularities of the policy.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s liquor excise policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.

The Enforcement Directorate has also claimed that members of a “South Group” had paid at least Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party through businessman Vijay Nair, who is currently in jail.

Hours before Kejriwal’s arrest on March 20, electoral bond data released by the Election Commission had shown a company linked to another person accused in the same case, P Sarath Chandra Reddy, had donated Rs 5 crore to the BJP in 2022, just five days after he was taken in custody. Another Rs 25 crore was donated to the BJP after Reddy turned approver in the case.

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