Delhi Liquor Policy Scam: SC Grants CM Arvind Kejriwal Bail Till June 1, Paving Way For Him To Campaign In Lok Sabha Polls

Delhi Liquor Policy Scam: SC Grants CM Arvind Kejriwal Bail Till June 1, Paving Way For Him To Campaign In Lok Sabha Polls

Supreme Court's decision to grant interim bail to Kejriwal has paved the way for him to aggressively campaign for the party in Lok Sabha elections.

Rahul MUpdated: Friday, May 10, 2024, 02:53 PM IST
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Arvind Kejriwal | PTI

In a big relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Friday granted him bail till June 1 in a money laundering case linked to an alleged liquor policy scam. Kejriwal is currently lodged in the Tihar jail under judicial custody after his arrest on March 21 in now-scrapped Delhi liquor license policy case.

The Supreme Court's decision to grant interim bail to Kejriwal has paved the way for him to aggressively campaign for the party in Lok Sabha elections. The court maintained that it will pass a detailed order soon.

“The court has pronounced an oral order and in that order, the court indicated that it is granting interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal which will be operable till June 2. There’s no restriction on campaigning. We will try for the relief today itself,” Kejriwal's lawyer Shadan Farasat told media.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed the apex court's decision on Kejriwal's interim bail on ground of electioneering. It said that no such precedents were available. Countering the ED's argument, the Supreme Court noted that granting Kejriwal interim bail for 21 days "will not make much of a difference". The apex court also ordered Kejriwal to surrender on June 2.

Supreme Court had reserved its decision

Kejriwal, who is also the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was arrested by the ED on March 21 and sought bail to campaign for the party in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

On May 7, the Supreme Court reserved its decision after hearing arguments from both sides. Justices Sanjeev Khanna and Dipankar Datta are hearing the case. The bench has divided the hearing on the Delhi Chief Minister's plea into two parts: the first part challenging his arrest by the ED and seeking to declare it "illegal", while the second part is in view of the ongoing elections. Focuses on possible interim bail.

On 9 April, the Delhi High Court upheld Kejriwal's arrest, saying there was no illegality and that the investigating agency had "little choice" as he had refused to participate in the investigation despite repeated summons. Gave and did not co-operate in the investigation related to irregularities in the allegedly defunct Delhi Liquor Policy 2021-22.

Earlier this week, a Delhi court extended Kejriwal's judicial custody till May 20 in a money laundering case. During the Supreme Court hearing, the bench suggested that if Kejriwal is granted interim bail, he should stay away from official duties.

ED opposed Kejriwal's plea seeking interim bail

On May 7, the ED had opposed the AAP leader's plea stating that a chief minister can not be treated differently than the common man. Arguing against the bail plea, the ED said that it will set a bad precedent and also highlighted that Kejriwal evaded summons on nine occasions.

Supreme Court's hint at interim bail during previous hearing

The apex court on May 3, while hearing Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest by the ED in the excise policy case had hinted at the possibility of granting interim bail to AAP leader in view of the ongoing general elections.

During the previous hearing, a bench of Justices Khanna and Datta asked the Central probe agency to come prepared for hearing on the interim bail plea on May 7.

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