1. Home
  2. English
  3. Placed under Arrest Kejriwal Sent to CBI Custody for 3 Days
Placed under Arrest Kejriwal Sent to CBI Custody for 3 Days

Placed under Arrest Kejriwal Sent to CBI Custody for 3 Days

Social Share

Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 26: A special court in New Delhi on Wednesday sent the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to a three-day Central Bureau of Investigation custody after the central agency formally arrested him in the Delhi excise policy scam, the same case for which he was in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate and later in the Tihar jail.

In a dramatic development when Mr Kejriwal’s petition was to be taken up in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order staying his bail cleared by the Rouse Avenue Court, the CBI placed him under arrest after seeking the special court’s permission. The court allowed the agency to arrest the Chief Minister after it was asked to produce the documents for seeking his arrest.

In view of the new development, Mr Kejriwal’s advocates subsequently withdrew the petition in the Supreme Court saying that a more substantial petition would be moved later covering all aspects.

Mr Kejriwal was produced before Special Judge Amitabh Rawat, where the CBI sought his custody for five days to interrogate him. The court allowed three days. Also the court allowed Mr Kejriwal to meet his lawyer for 30 minutes everyday. The application was moved by the central probe agency after the AAP leader was produced before the court from Tihar central jail.

The excise case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.

Lt Governor V.K. Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities. Subsequently, the ED filed a case on August 22, 2022, taking cognisance of the CBI FIR that was lodged on August 17, 2022.

The New Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, introduced in November 2021, aimed to revolutionize the liquor retail landscape in the capital. Its objectives were to maximize revenue for the state, combat the sale of counterfeit alcohol, and enhance the consumer experience. However, the policy encountered vehement opposition and allegations of procedural irregularities, ultimately leading to its annulment on August 1, 2022.

In the Rouse Avenue Court this morning, Mr Kejriwal’s lawyers argued that the agency’s move to arrest the AAP boss at this point showed it had acted “in a most biased manner.” The reference was to the fact the CBI had already quizzed him in connection with this case for over nine hours in April last year.

Mr Kejriwal had then been questioned as a witness in the case. Today he addressed the court directly and recounted what he told the CBI when asked why the liquor policy in question was framed.

“I told them (the CBI) there were three points. First – increase revenue. Second – reduce crowds to handle law and order. Third – opening of liquor shops in the right proportion (i.e., equal distribution across the city). I had given instructions to Manish Sisodia (his former deputy, who, in February last year, was the first to be arrested in this case) to keep these three things in mind in the policy.”

Mr Kejriwal’s legal team criticised the CBI for moving to arrest him at this point. “It is a poor citizen vs might of the State. This case is pending since August 2022. I was called as a witness… I appeared and, for nine hours, I assisted. Not a single notice (from the CBI) since then. How did they shift from a witness to an accused… it is a long distance to cover,” they argued.

Mr Kejriwal also asked for this hearing to be deferred by 24 hours so he could study the CBI’s case. “Unnecessary allegations. We could have done this before, or even during, the election. We did not… it (the interrogation) was done only after the court’s permission,” the CBI responded.

The federal agency also pointed out it had no obligation to announce the start of an investigation. “Suppose there is an inquiry… I don’t have to tell (Mr Kejriwal)… Who I have to tell is to the court – that I need custody. There is no mandate I have to tell the other side about my desire to investigate.”

Following Mr Kejriwal’s arrest in court, his party posted a sharp message on X. “Today when the BJP felt Delhi’s son, Arvind Kejriwal, might get bail from the Supreme Court, they again hatched a conspiracy – to get him arrested by CBI in a fake case. But every conspiracy of the BJP will be answered (and the) truth will win in the end,” the party said in Hindi.

Mr Kejriwal also denied reports that he had told the CBI earlier that his former deputy Manish Sisodia was to be blamed for the alleged liquor policy scam. “A false narrative is being spread by CBI sources in the media – that I put the blame of the liquor policy scam on Sisodiaji. I did not make any such statement blaming him or any other person.”

“I had said Sisodiaji is innocent… Aam Aadmi Party is innocent… and I am innocent. But CBI’s plan is to malign us in the media. Please record… CBI sources spread fake news,” Mr Kejriwal told the court. The Delhi Chief Minister’s objections came after the CBI claimed in court he tried to pin the blame – specifically for recommending that liquor stores in the city be privatised – on his party colleague. “CBI is defaming me… defaming AAP. I am innocent and Sisodia ji is also innocent,” he said.

The significance of his speaking up was added to by the court, which held that the available evidence, including that presented by the prosecution, did not suggest such statements were made. Mr Kejriwal then continued addressing the court, this time revealing what he told the federal agency last year; the AAP leader faced a nine-hour interrogation in August, when he was called as a witness.



Your email address will not be published.

Join our WhatsApp Channel

And stay informed with the latest news and updates.

Join Now
revoi whats app qr code