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CBI Arrests Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Over Excise Policy Scandal

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) formally arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The arrest follows a decision by Special Judge Amitabh Rawat of the Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi, who declined to interfere with the CBI’s ongoing investigation.

Court Proceedings and CBI’s Actions

Despite the court’s refusal to intervene, it ensured Kejriwal would receive copies of the CBI’s plea for his custodial interrogation and the June 24 order allowing the agency to question him in Tihar Jail. The CBI’s case originated from a complaint by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on July 20, 2022.

Legal Representation and Concerns

Kejriwal’s counsel argued that they were unaware of the CBI’s application to the court, learning of it only through media reports. Advocate Vivek Jain, representing Kejriwal, expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and due process. Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhari requested access to the documents and a postponement of the hearing to prepare a proper response.

CBI’s Stance on Investigation Protocols

CBI counsel DP Singh maintained that the investigation is the agency’s prerogative and does not require informing the accused beforehand. Singh argued that judicial permission was sufficient for questioning Kejriwal, who was in custody, and emphasized that Kejriwal’s formal arrest had not yet occurred.

Ongoing Legal Battle

Chaudhari countered that no prior notice under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was given to Kejriwal, arguing that the court’s permission to arrest would effectively endorse the CBI’s actions without due process. The court agreed that the CBI must justify the arrest and allowed the defense to file a response.

Kejriwal’s Detention and Accusations

Kejriwal is already in jail related to a money laundering case tied to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy of 2021-22. Arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he is accused of participating in a conspiracy to create loopholes in the policy to benefit specific liquor vendors, allegedly using the kickbacks to fund AAP’s election campaign in Goa. The ED’s investigation stemmed from the CBI’s initial case filed on August 17, 2022.

Supreme Court Appeal

Although Kejriwal was granted bail by the trial court in the ED case on June 20, the Delhi High Court stayed the bail order on June 25. The Supreme Court is set to hear Kejriwal’s appeal against the High Court’s decision today.

(With inputs from various sources)

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