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Saturday, July 20, 2024

India: Setback for Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi High Court puts his bail on hold

The Delhi High Court has put Arvind Kejriwal’s bail on hold after the Enforcement Directorate challenged the order, claiming that it was not given a fair opportunity to present its case by the trial court.

In Short

  • ED challenged trial court’s bail order before Delhi High Court
  • ASG Raju claims ED not given fair opportunity to argue case
  • Kejriwal’s lawyer contests ED claim, says agency got sufficient time

In a big setback for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court on Friday paused the Rouse Avenue Court’s order granting him bail in a money laundering case linked to the now scrapped excise policy. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had challenged the trial court’s bail order.

A vacation bench of Justices Sudhir Kumar Jain and Ravinder Dudeja effectively paused the trial court proceedings, saying, “Stay till the High Court takes up the matter. No proceedings to commence before the trial court (Rouse Avenue) till the Delhi High Court hears the case.”

As a result, Kejriwal will remain in jail until the High Court conducts a hearing on the matter.

At the Rouse Avenue court on Thursday, a vacation bench of Justice Nyay Bindu allowed bail to Kejriwal while also declining the ED’s request for a 48-hour stay on the order.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, representing the ED, informed the Delhi High Court that the agency was not given a fair opportunity to present its case. “The order has not yet been uploaded. Conditions not known. We have not got a fair opportunity to oppose,” Raju said.

He argued that he was not given sufficient time to argue the case or to file written submissions, and expressed his frustration with the process by stating, “My arguments were curtailed before the vacation judge. We haven’t been given the option of a rejoinder also. This is not fair at all.”

Citing Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Raju urged the court to stay the bail order and allow the matter to be heard at length.

Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary appeared for Arvind Kejriwal, defending against the ED’s challenge. “All these submissions are not correct. They argued at length. Seven hours of arguments are not enough? Someone should gracefully accept something,” Chaudhary retorted.

Raju countered, insisting on the urgency of a stay. “This cannot stay for a day where the public prosecutor was denied the opportunity to even argue.”

The ED’s plea challenging the trial court’s bail order has been listed for hearing and is expected to be taken up shortly.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 in dramatic scenes just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. In May, he was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court in view of general elections. He surrendered on June 2.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh condemned the Delhi High Court’s decision and accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of making a mockery of the judiciary.

“Look at the hooliganism of the Modi government. The trial court’s order has not come yet, even the copy of the order is not available. Then which order has Modi’s ED gone to challenge in High Court? Why are you making fun of the justice system, Modiji?” he tweeted.

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