News Brief

Liquor Policy Case Update: ED Challenges Arvind Kejriwal's Bail In Delhi High Court

Swarajya Staff

Jun 21, 2024, 10:34 AM | Updated 10:34 AM IST

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. (X)
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. (X)

On Thursday (20 June), a Delhi court granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to the now-cancelled Delhi liquor excise policy.

Vacation judge Niyay Bindu of the Rouse Avenue Court has issued the bail order after extensive hearings with both Kejriwal and the ED. The detailed court order is still awaited as per a report by The Hindu.

Following the bail announcement, ED’s counsel Zoheb Hossain requested a 48-hour delay in the signing of the bail bond to allow the central agency time to appeal the decision. The request was denied, with the court stating that the bail bond should be presented to the duty judge on 21 June.

However, the ED has now moved the Delhi High Court against the order of the trial court granting bail to Kejriwal. ED is likely to mention the matter for an urgent hearing.

Kejriwal was initially arrested by the ED on 21 March, with allegations that he was the 'kingpin' in the Delhi liquor excise policy scam.

After weeks in jail, the Supreme Court released him on 10 May to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls but was returned to jail on 2 June when it denied further relief.

Earlier this month, Kejriwal had submitted two bail applications in the Rouse Avenue Court. The first, for a seven-day bail for medical treatment, was denied on 5 June. The second, a regular bail application, was granted on 20 June.

The case against Kejriwal stemmed from an FIR initially filed by the CBI based on a complaint from the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, alleging multiple irregularities in the Delhi Excise policy of 2021-22, which was later withdrawn by the state.

Following the CBI case, the ED filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, alleging that the money generated through the excise policy was funneled through “hawala” channels to finance the AAP’s campaign in Goa ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections.

In opposing Kejriwal’s bail plea, the ED claimed that he had stayed in a seven-star hotel in Goa with bills paid using kickback money. The ED argued that even if Kejriwal did not commit the offence directly, he is responsible for AAP's actions and, therefore, is culpable.

Responding to the ED’s claims, Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhary, representing Kejriwal had argued that the ED’s conclusions were based on hypotheses and that there was no money trail as alleged by the agency.

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