Arvind Kejriwal granted interim bail by Supreme Court till June 1

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal granted interim bail by Supreme Court until June 1
Arvind Kejriwal granted interim bail by Supreme Court till June 1
Jaano Junction

The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal till June 1 in connection with a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta pronounced the verdict after a brief hearing on an interim bail plea filed by Kejriwal. The plea filed by Kejriwal had challenged his arrest in the Delhi liquor policy case and the subsequent request for interim bail to enable his participation in campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The bench has asked Kejriwal to surrender on June 2. He is presently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21.

Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Kejriwal, asked the court whether Kejriwal could get interim bail for June 5. To this, Justice Khanna replied, "No."

The bench said, "Let us not draw any parallel. He was arrested in March and the arrest could have been before or after. Now after 21 days, there won't be any difference. On June 2, Arvind Kejriwal will surrender."

Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Kejriwal during the hearing, asked the court whether Kejriwal could get interim bail for June 5. To this, Justice Khanna replied, "No."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the ED, told the court that Kejriwal should not speak about the case and surrender on the date specified.

Shadan Farasat, Kejriwal's lawyer, said efforts were being made to ensure the Chief Minister would be released from Tihar Jail today itself.

"The interim bail is till June 1. He has to surrender on June 2. This has just been said orally. After the order is uploaded on the Supreme Court website, we will see what else is there in it. We are trying our best to make sure that Kejriwal is released today," Farasat said.

Following the Supreme Court's interim bail order, Kejriwal's lawyer will go to the trial court, where the release order will be prepared and sent to the Tihar Jail administration, sources said.

Kejriwal will only be released by the jail administration after he receives the trial court's release order, they added.

Generally, all the release orders that come daily in Tihar Jail are disposed of in about an hour, sources further said.

AAP, which is a member of the Opposition INDIA bloc, got backing from leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Uddhav Thackeray.

In a tweet, Banerjee said Kejriwal's interim bail "will be very helpful in the context of the current elections".

"I am very happy to see that Shri Arvind Kejriwal @ArvindKejriwal has got interim bail. It will be very helpful in the context of the current elections," she said.

Aaditya Thackeray said the Supreme Court's interim bail order to Kejriwal signalled "winds of change".

"@ArvindKejriwal ji getting justice and relief against the dictatorial regime in the country is a huge sign of winds of change. He has been speaking the truth and that is what the BJP dislikes. More power to him and the INDIA bloc for Bharat. We will protect our Constitution and democracy!" he tweeted.

Congress in-charge of Delhi and Haryana, Deepak Babaria, praised the Supreme Court's verdict and alleged that BJP had blocked Kejriwal from campaigning for elections.

"It is the BJP's policy to send all Opposition leaders behind bars and stop them from campaigning for the elections in one way or the other. This is a stop on the dictatorship they had started. BJP is facing a crushing defeat across the country. This decision will strengthen the ecosystem," he said.

The ED on Thursday opposed the interim bail for Kejriwal. In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the central probe agency said that the right to campaign for elections was "not fundamental".

"The right to campaign for an election is not a fundamental, constitutional or legal right. To ED's knowledge, no political leader has been granted interim bail for campaigning even though he is not the contesting candidate," the affidavit read.

Meanwhile, the ED is also expected to file its first chargesheet against Kejriwal in the liquor policy case. This will be the first time that Kejriwal will be named as an accused in the case.

The ED alleges Kejriwal was the "kingpin" of the 'scam' and directly involved in demanding kickbacks from liquor barons.

Source: India Today

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