Kejriwal Takes Liquor Policy Case to Supreme Court After High Court Dismissal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal moves to Supreme Court post Delhi HC dismissal of his petition challenging arrest in the liquor policy case. Allegations include money laundering and favoritism towards liquor licensees. AAP leaders Manish Sisodia jailed, Sanjay Singh on bail in the same case.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's legal battle took another turn as he approached the Supreme Court today, seeking relief following the dismissal of his petition by the Delhi High Court. The High Court's decision, which upheld his arrest in connection with the liquor policy case, has prompted Kejriwal to escalate the matter to the highest judicial authority in the country.

In yesterday's ruling, the Delhi High Court emphasized the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) stance that it had few alternatives after Kejriwal repeatedly disregarded summonses pertaining to the money laundering investigation. The court underscored allegations suggesting Kejriwal's active involvement in the utilization and concealment of alleged proceeds of crime. Importantly, the High Court rejected any notion of a differential treatment based on an individual's public office, stressing that there cannot be separate legal protocols for questioning a common citizen versus a Chief Minister.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma's statement elucidated the court's position: "Further, this Court holds that this Court would not lay down two different categories of laws, one for common citizens, and the other granting special privilege to be extended by investigating agency to a Chief Minister or any other person in power only on the basis of being in that public office since that public office is enjoyed by that public figure due to the mandate of the public."

Reacting to the High Court's decision, Saurabh Bharadwaj, a prominent leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and a Delhi Minister, criticized the investigative agencies, pointing out that neither the ED nor the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) uncovered any illicit funds during their searches related to the Delhi liquor policy case. Bharadwaj alleged coercion of witnesses to align with the ED's narrative, labeling the situation as the "biggest political conspiracy in India's history."

Bharadwaj drew parallels between Kejriwal's case and that of AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who faced similar charges but was granted bail by the Supreme Court. Expressing hope for a favorable outcome, Bharadwaj highlighted Singh's precedent and anticipated justice for Kejriwal from the apex court.

Kejriwal's legal maneuvers have been intricate, reflecting the gravity of the allegations against him. Initially approaching the Supreme Court upon his arrest, Kejriwal later withdrew his petition to address the matter in the trial court. This decision coincided with a Supreme Court bench's refusal to intervene in the case of another accused, Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha, underscoring the need to adhere to legal protocols and deference to trial court proceedings.

Now, eighteen days after the initial setback in court, Kejriwal has returned to the Supreme Court seeking reprieve. The underlying controversy revolves around the Delhi government's liquor policy, which was implemented in 2021 and revoked the subsequent year amid allegations of favoritism towards liquor licensees. The probe initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, following a recommendation by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, delves into these alleged irregularities, while the Enforcement Directorate scrutinizes the financial aspects of the case.

Notably, besides Arvind Kejriwal, former Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia find themselves in legal jeopardy, with Sisodia currently incarcerated. Sanjay Singh, an AAP MP arrested in connection with the same case, has been granted bail.