Kejriwal to Appeal to Supreme Court After High Court Dismisses Plea

Delhi HC upholds Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, denies privilege for political figures. AAP to seek relief from Supreme Court, citing lack of mala fide.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal is set to move the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court dismissed his plea challenging his arrest and remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the excise policy case. The High Court, in its ruling, upheld the validity of Kejriwal's arrest, asserting that the ED possessed sufficient evidence to warrant his detention.

Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma, delivering the verdict, emphasized that the ED's investigation revealed Kejriwal's alleged involvement in collecting kickbacks as the AAP's national convenor. The court stressed that candidates, including chief ministers, were not entitled to any specific privilege and must be subject to the law's scrutiny.

The High Court's decision comes after Kejriwal's plea contesting the timing of his arrest vis-a-vis the upcoming general elections. However, the court rejected this argument, stating that the law must be applied irrespective of electoral considerations. Justice Sharma asserted that political factors should not influence judicial proceedings and highlighted the importance of upholding the rule of law.

Furthermore, the court dismissed Kejriwal's skepticism regarding the credibility of approvers, remarking that doubting the grant of pardon to accused individuals amounted to casting aspersions on the judicial process. It underscored the judiciary's obligation to adjudicate matters based on legal principles rather than political considerations.

The ruling has ignited a political debate, with the BJP lauding the court's decision and calling for accountability from the AAP leadership. Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva urged AAP leaders to apologize to the people of Delhi and respect the court's verdict.

Meanwhile, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj expressed confidence in the Supreme Court's intervention, citing the recent bail granted to AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh as precedent. The party affirmed its disagreement with the High Court's ruling and announced Kejriwal's intention to appeal to the apex court.

Kejriwal's arrest stems from allegations of involvement in a conspiracy related to the formulation of the excise policy, wherein he purportedly solicited kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange for favors. The ED contends that the AAP benefited significantly from the proceeds of the crime and asserts Kejriwal's direct role in shaping the policy.

The case revolves around alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was subsequently scrapped. Former Delhi minister Manish Sisodia and BRS leader K Kavitha are also detained in connection with the case.