Understanding Why Arvind Kejriwal Was Arrested by the Enforcement Directorate and His Response

Today, on 21st March the Enforcement Directorate (ED) took action by arresting Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), regarding the liquor policy case. This move comes after earlier statements from AAP leaders Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj, who expressed concerns about such an arrest. Mr. Kejriwal had previously avoided nine summonses from the central probe agency.

ED’s allegations and timeline:

In a recent press release, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) labeled Mr. Arvind Kejriwal as a “conspirator” in the case.

According to the ED, K Kavitha, a leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), allegedly conspired with Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, as well as AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, in formulating the now-defunct liquor policy case.

This alleged plot aimed to create a policy favoring a liquor lobby from southern India, referred to as the “South Lobby” by the ED. In return, the “South Lobby” purportedly promised ₹100 crore to the AAP.

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal’s name emerged in statements from some suspects and witnesses, as noted in the ED’s remand note and chargesheets.

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The probe agency stated that Vijay Nair, one of the suspects in the liquor policy case, frequently visited Mr. Arvind Kejriwal’s office, spending considerable time there. Allegedly, Mr. Nair informed liquor traders that he discussed the policy with Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and facilitated a meeting between Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and Sameer Mahendru, owner of Indospirit.

When the direct meeting failed, Mr. Nair arranged a video call between Mr. Mahendru and Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, during which Mr. Arvind Kejriwal referred to Mr. Nair as someone he trusts deeply.

Raghav Magunta, initially accused in the “South Lobby” case and now a witness, claimed that his father, a YSR Congress Party MP, met Mr. Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the liquor policy.

In a statement from December 2022, C Arvind, former secretary of Mr. Sisodia, mentioned receiving a draft report from Mr. Sisodia in March of the previous year.

Arvind Kejriwal speaks out about his arrest: ‘Whether I’m in jail or out…

Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, who was arrested in connection with the alleged Delhi excise policy ‘scam,’ expressed his commitment to the nation on Friday. This statement marks his first response following the arrest. He stated, ‘My life is dedicated to the country, whether I’m in jail or out.’ This remark came shortly after he attended court proceedings related to the money laundering case associated with the excise policy.

“The Enforcement Directorate presented Kejriwal before the Rouse Avenue court in New Delhi on Friday. During the proceedings, the agency accused Kejriwal of being the main figure in the alleged scam related to the Delhi excise policy.

According to news agency PTI, the Enforcement Directorate informed the court that Arvind Kejriwal, along with other ministers and leaders of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), was a central figure in the liquor scam. The agency alleged that Kejriwal acted as a mediator between the ‘South group’ and other suspects involved in the scam.

ASG SV Raju, representing the agency, stated to PTI that Kejriwal allegedly demanded ₹100 crore from certain individuals from the ‘South group’ for funding the Punjab elections.

The Enforcement Directorate requested a 10-day custody of Arvind Kejriwal.

However, Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, opposed the custody plea. Singhvi argued that the ED must first demonstrate the necessity of arrest. He emphasized the difference between the power to arrest and the actual need for arrest.

Furthermore, Singhvi contended before the Special Judge that, according to the ED, Kejriwal’s arrest was due to non-cooperation. He argued that all required documents and information were already in the possession of the ED, and summoning Kejriwal ‘in person’ was merely a tactic to unlawfully arrest him. Singhvi asserted that the present situation clearly indicated malice.”

Hiren Chokshi


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