No bail for Arvind Kejriwal, High Court says trial court didn’t apply its mind

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's bail was paused again as the High Court cited the manner in which the trial court granted bail to the AAP chief by not considering the ED's arguments challenging his bail properly.
No bail for Arvind Kejriwal, High Court says trial court didn’t apply its mind
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday again put on hold Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's bail in a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped liquor policy. The High Court said the trial court did not give adequate opportunity to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to put forth its arguments on not granting bail to Kejriwal, and that it didn't apply its mind during its judgment.

Pronouncing the order, a vacation bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said the ED did not get proper consideration by the trial court judge to present its arguments while opposing the bail plea of Kejriwal. The bench said the trial court did not lay out the conditions for Kejriwal's release under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), under which the Chief Minister was charged in the case.

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No bail for Arvind Kejriwal, High Court says trial court didn’t apply its mind

"The trial court should not have given any finding, which is opposite to the finding of the High Court. The documents and arguments were not appreciated properly," the bench said.

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No bail for Arvind Kejriwal, High Court says trial court didn’t apply its mind

On the interim bail granted to Kejriwal, the High Court said it was done as Kejriwal had to campaign for AAP in the Lok Sabha elections. It stated that the materials presented in front of the trial court judge were not considered properly.

"Once his plea challenging his arrest has been dismissed by the High Court, it cannot be said that his personal liberty was curtailed in violation of the law," it said, adding that the court considered arguments from the advocates of Kejriwal and ED.

On June 21, the Delhi High Court reserved after the ED challenged a lower court's decision to grant bail to Kejriwal and put it in abeyance until the pronouncement. The High Court paused the bail granted to Kejriwal on the agency's plea and said it would pronounce the order on June 25 (Tuesday).

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No bail for Arvind Kejriwal, High Court says trial court didn’t apply its mind

The ED has contended that the lower court’s bail order was "perverse", "one-sided" and "wrong-sided" and that the findings were based on irrelevant facts.

In a note filed on Monday in relation to the plea to pause the bail order, the ED said the decision did not consider the material demonstrating the AAP chief's "neck-deep involvement" in the liquor policy case.

On June 20, the trial court granted bail to Kejriwal, who was arrested on March 21, by the ED and ordered his release on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. The court imposed certain conditions, including that he would not hamper the investigation or influence the witnesses.

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court refused to pass an immediate order to overturn the Delhi High Court's decision to pause Kejriwal's bail. The Supreme Court, while orally observing that the High Court's approach was "a bit unusual", advised the Chief Minister to wait for the High Court's order.

The AAP chief had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court's pause on the bail granted to him by the trial court.

The liquor policy was scrapped in 2022 after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a CBI probe into alleged irregularities and corruption involving its formulation and execution.

According to the CBI and ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours were extended to the licence holders.

The ED alleged that part of the proceeds of crime up to around Rs 45 crore was utilised by AAP during the 2022 assembly polls in Goa. In this manner, AAP committed the offence of money laundering through Kejriwal, the agency said.

The party has vehemently denied the allegations and alleged it was a "political conspiracy".

Source: India Today

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