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May 18, 2024

Delhi Court to Review ED’s Chargesheet Against Kejriwal and AAP on May 20

The Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi has scheduled May 20 to consider the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) supplementary chargesheet against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a high-profile money laundering case connected to the Delhi excise policy.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja announced on Saturday that the court will deliberate on the ED’s submissions and arguments concerning the chargesheet on the upcoming Monday. This decision follows the ED’s filing of the chargesheet on Friday by Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Naveen Kumar Matta and two ED officials at the Rouse Avenue Court.

The Enforcement Directorate had earlier indicated during Manish Sisodia’s bail hearing in the Delhi High Court that the Aam Aadmi Party would be implicated in the case. The ED has also informed the Supreme Court that AAP will be co-accused in the money laundering investigation related to the Delhi excise policy. Appearing before Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju highlighted direct evidence against Kejriwal, asserting that he demanded Rs 100 crore in kickbacks, which were allegedly used for AAP’s Goa election expenses.

The ASG further claimed that Kejriwal is not only vicariously liable as the head of AAP but also directly involved, having played a pivotal role in the formulation of the excise policy. Evidence presented by the ED suggests that Kejriwal’s stay in a luxurious hotel in Goa was partially funded by one of the accused.

In court, questions arose about the ED’s handling of exculpatory evidence. Kejriwal’s counsel argued that several witness statements clearing him were ignored, accusing the ED of selectively using incriminating materials to justify his arrest.

On May 10, the Supreme Court granted Kejriwal interim bail until June 1 in the money laundering case. However, the court restricted him from visiting the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat, and required his surrender on June 2. This interim bail was in response to Kejriwal’s appeal against a Delhi High Court decision that dismissed his plea against his ED arrest and subsequent remand.

Kejriwal argued in his Supreme Court appeal that his arrest was politically motivated, coinciding with the announcement of the General Elections. The High Court, however, had rejected his plea on April 9, suggesting that his repeated absence from nine ED summons over six months negated any claims of special privileges as Chief Minister and rendered his arrest inevitable.

The charges stem from Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED on March 21 as part of a broader money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

This high-stakes legal battle continues to unfold, with significant implications for both Kejriwal and the AAP as they navigate these serious allegations amid a politically charged atmosphere. The upcoming court proceedings on May 20 will be crucial in determining the next steps in this ongoing case.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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