SC reserves verdict on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against ED arrest in excise policy case

New Delhi, May 17 : The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a petition filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest and subsequent remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the excise policy case.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna clarified that CM Kejriwal could approach the trial court for grant of regular bail in the money laundering case notwithstanding the fact that the apex court reserved judgment in the matter.

The bench, also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, finished hearing the oral arguments advanced by Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju — representing the ED — and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the petitioner (Kejriwal).

During the hearing, ASG Raju submitted that the probe agency has “chats” between Kejriwal and hawala operators, and disclosing such material to the accused prior to arrest could hamper the investigation.

He added that at the stage of investigation, the adequacy of the “materials available” cannot be judicially scrutinised.

In an order passed last week, the apex court ordered CM Kejriwal to be released on interim bail in the money laundering case till June 1 and directed him to surrender on June 2. It prohibited CM Kejriwal from signing official files unless it is required and necessary for obtaining clearance/approval of the Lt Governor of Delhi.

Also, while out on interim bail, he will not visit the CM office or the Delhi Secretariat.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked Kejriwal as to why he had not moved a bail application before the trial court.

“We have not filed a bail application because the arrest is ‘illegal’ and the width of section 19 (of Prevention of Money Laundering Act) is much wider when the arrest is per se illegal,” his counsel had said.

He contended that the ED is required to demonstrate the “necessity to arrest” on the “materials available” with a “reason to believe” that the accused has been guilty of an offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

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