SC releases CM Kejriwal on interim bail till June 1

New Delhi : In a big relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered him to be released on interim bail in the excise policy case till June 1.

A bench presided over by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that the AAP supremo will have to surrender on June 2.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, said that a detailed order containing reasons for the decision will be uploaded later in the evening.

On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed the grant of interim relief saying that a politician can claim no “special status” higher than that of an ordinary citizen and is as much liable to be arrested and detained for committing offences as any other citizen.

The affidavit filed by ED’s Deputy Director stated that there is no principle that justifies giving differential treatment to a politician for campaigning over a farmer or a businessman who wishes to pursue his vocation.

No political leader has been granted interim bail for campaigning even though Kejriwal is not the contesting candidate, said the affidavit, adding that even a contesting candidate is not granted interim bail for his own campaigning if he is in custody.

The ED contended that around 123 elections have taken place in the last five years and if interim bail is to be granted for campaigning, no politician can be arrested or sent to judicial custody since elections are all year-round phenomena.

In earlier hearings, the top court indicated that it may consider granting interim bail to the AAP leader in view of the ongoing general elections. It said this is an extraordinary situation and it is not that CM Kejriwal is a habitual offender.

Kejriwal had moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s April 10 judgment, which dismissed his plea challenging the ED arrest.

The AAP chief was arrested on March 21 and has been in custody since then.

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