Delhi High Court refuses to grant interim protection from arrest to CM Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi High Court refused to grant any interim protection to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from arrest in relation to the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi excise policy scam.

A division bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain said that it is not inclined to grant any such protection at this stage. The court stated that CM Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for interim protection will be heard on April 22 with his main petition challenging the investigation agency’s summons.

The bench remarked that until and unless the Chief Minister attends the summons, he will not know what information the investigation agency wants. It further asked that if the AAP chief had apprehension that if he attended their call, he would be arrested, then what prevented him from filing an anticipatory bail in the lower court. Furthermore, the court also asked the ED as to what prevented the probe agency from arresting the minister.

The High Court was considering Arvind Kejriwal’s plea seeking direction to the agency from not taking coercive action against him on his appearance in lieu of the summons. Arvind Kejriwal has moved the application in his petition, challenging the summons issued to him by the ED on March 16 and February 26 and quashing the proceedings against him in his capacity as AAP leader and Chief Minister emanating out of the ECIR (enforcement case information report) registered by ED in the money laundering case. 

CM Kejriwal has also challenged various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) including section 2(s) of PMLA to the extent it was constructed to include a political party within its ambit and sweep. He approached the high court three days after he was granted bail by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra on March 16, in the case based on the complaints filed by the investigation agency against him for allegedly disobeying the summons.

Appearing for Arvind Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Abhisekh Manu Singhvi submitted that the summons have been issued to the Chief Minister with an oblique motive to arrest and on the same day when schedule for the general elections was declared. The counsel argued that the summons does not specify the capacity in which his physical appearance has been sought and is devoid of material and questionnaire.

Meanwhile, the ED appearing through ASG Raju submitted that it had material to summon Arvind Kejriwal and was insisting on his physical presence in his individual capacity. He added that a person who flouted the law by skipping summons should not be heard entirely. He underlined that though the probe agency had the right to arrest, it never said that it would arrest the CM.

Crime Today News | Judiciary

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