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Kejriwal Sent to Judicial Custody till July 12

Kejriwal Sent to Judicial Custody till July 12

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 29: Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court on Saturday sent the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to judicial custody till June 12 accepting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s plea.

Mr Kejriwal was produced in the court by the CBI after the end of his three-day custodial interrogation on Saturday. The CBI sought 14 days jail for Mr Kejriwal, saying his incarceration was required “in the interest of the investigation and justice.”

Allowing the plea, Special Judge Sunena Sharma said Kejriwal be produced in the court on July 12. Mr Kejriwal was arrested by the CBI in connection with irregularities in his government’s excise policy on June 26 and was sent to three days CBI custody.

In its remand application, the CBI alleged Mr Kejriwal did not cooperate and gave evasive replies. “On being confronted with the evidence, he did not give a proper and truthful explanation regarding the enhancement of the profit margin for wholesalers from 5 per cent to 12 per cent under the new excise policy of Delhi 2021-22, without any study or justification,” the CBI said.

“He also could not explain as to why during the peak of second wave of Covid, the cabinet approval for revised excise policy was obtained through circulation in a hurried manner within one day, when the accused persons of the South Group were camping in Delhi and holding meetings with his close associate Vijay Nair,” the CBI said.

The central agency alleged Mr Kejriwal evaded questions on meetings of his associate Vijay Nair with stakeholders of the liquor business in Delhi. Mr Kejriwal was unable to give a proper explanation about his meeting with Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, and Arjun Pandey and Mootha Gautham, both accused in the case.

“He, being a prominent politician and chief minister of Delhi, is a very influential person, as such, there are credible reasons to believe that, he may influence the witnesses and evidences already exposed before him during the custodial interrogation and also the potential witnesses, who are yet to be examined, tamper with the evidence to be further collected and may hamper the ongoing investigation,” the CBI application said.

Mr Kejriwal was first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 over money laundering allegations while framing the Delhi liquor policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped after the Lieutenant Governor raised red flags. The ED has alleged the money Mr Kejriwal got from the liquor sellers was used to fund the party’s campaign in Goa, since he is the convenor of the AAP.

The arrest order of Delhi Chief Minister was passed by Special Judge Amitabh Rawat on the application by CBI on Wednesday. “In view of the factum of the investigation leading to the arrest of the accused, the role ascribed to him and the necessity to confront the accused with the evidence in the present case of conspiracy, the present police remand application of the accused is allowed. However, it shall be for a period of three days from today. Accused Arvind Kejriwal will be produced on June 29, 2024 before 7 pm,” the judge had said in the order.

When the court asked Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhary, who was appearing for Kejriwal, about the grounds for opposing remand, he said, “The arrest and police custody orders were based the collection of evidence, which they had apparently collected in January.”

The court said the matter related to evidence was between the court and the investigation officer. The court also said that according to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), once the police custody was over, the court was bound to grant judicial remand.

Meanwhile, AAP leaders and workers held a protest near the BJP’s headquarters on DDU Marg to demand the release of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Security was beefed up near the BJP office ahead of the protests. The AAP leaders also held protests in Punjab and other states.




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