Delhi court grants bail to Arvind Kejriwal: A look at chronology of events in alleged Excise Policy scam case

LG VK Saxena recommended CBI probe into alleged irregularities in Delhi Excise Policy a year after it was introduced by Arvind Kejriwal.


Published Jun 20, 2024 | 10:16 PM Updated Jun 20, 2024 | 10:17 PM

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal gets bail in Excise Policy scam

In a huge relief to embattled Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a court in the national capital on Thursday, 20 June, granted him bail in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise scam.

Special Judge Niyay Bindu also declined the Enforcement Directorate’s prayer to keep in abeyance the bail order for 48 hours to allow the central agency to avail legal remedies like moving a superior court in appeal.

The judge ordered Kejriwal’s release on a personal bond of 1 lakh but imposed certain conditions before granting him the relief, including that he would not try to hamper the investigation or influence the witnesses.

The judge also directed Kejriwal to appear before the court whenever required and to cooperate with the investigation.

The judge had reserved the order earlier during the day after hearing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which sought to link Kejriwal to the alleged proceeds of the crime and the co-accused, and the defence claimed the prosecution has no evidence to nail the AAP leader.

Kejriwal’s lawyers are likely to submit the bail bond before the court on Friday, after which he will be released from Tihar jail.

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The ED is likely to challenge the bail order before a higher court in the coming days. Nevertheless, the grant of regular bail to the AAP national convenor will give his Aam Aadmi Party and its allies a stick to beat the Modi government with as, according to Section 45 of the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), bail can be granted only if the judge is prima facie satisfied that the accused has not committed the offence and that he is unlikely to commit any offence while on bail.

A detailed order, however, is awaited.

The ED had arrested Kejriwal on 21 March, shortly after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him protection from arrest on his petition challenging summonses issued to him.

On 10 May, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Kejriwal till 1 June to campaign in the Lok Sabha elections, saying he would have to surrender and go back to jail on 2 June.

Kejriwal had surrendered before Tihar jail authorities on 2 June and has been there since then.

As Arvind Kejriwal is all set to walk out of jail, here’s a look at how the entire case came to be.

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Chronology of events in the case

In November 2021, the Delhi government introduced the new excise policy. Almost a year later, on July 2022, LG VK Saxena recommended CBI probe into alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of policy.

By next month, in August, CBI and Enforcement Directorate registered multiple cases in connection with alleged irregularities. Eventually, in September 2022, the AAP-led Delhi government scrapped the excise policy.

Over a year later, the ED sent its first summons to Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case and asked him to appear before it on 2 November. In December, the ED issued two more summons to the Delhi CM for questioning on 21 December and 3 January respectively. Two more summons were sent to him in January 2024.

By 3 February, ED filed a complaint against Kejriwal before the magisterial court for skipping summons after which the court summoned the Delhi CM. As he continued to miss his summons, the ED approached the court. Eventually, after refusing to stay proceedings against him for skipping summons, the court granted bail to Kejriwal for skipping ED’s summons to appear before it on 16 March.

However, on 21 March, the Delhi High Court refused to grant Kejriwal protection from arrest on his petition challenging the summons issued to him. ED arrested the Delhi CM shortly after.

On 23 March, Arvind Kejriwal moved Delhi HC challenging his arrest by the ED and trial court order remanding him in agency’s custody. His petition was dismissed by the HC, following which he moved Supreme Court on 10 April.

In a few days, SC sought a response from the central agency on Kejriwal’s plea, when ED told the apex court about his conduct “to form the satisfaction” that he is guilty of money laundering.

On 27 April, Kejriwal told the apex court that his “illegal arrest” in the case constituted an unprecedented assault on tenets of democracy based on “free and fair elections” and “federalism”. However, in a couple of days, the SC questioned his non-appearance before the ED despite repeated summonses for recording statements.

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