Tuesday, June 18, 2024

No exception made in granting interim bail to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, critical analysis of verdict welcome: SC

Supreme Court

NEW DELHI, MAY 16: The Supreme Court on Thursday steered clear of the political talk about it having made an exception for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in granting him interim bail for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls but said “critical analysis of the judgment is welcome”.
A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta refused to consider claims and counter claims by Advocates for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Kejriwal on statements related to grant of interim bail to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor.
“We have not made any exception for anybody. We said in our order what we felt was justified”, the Bench said.
Appearing for the ED, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to Kejriwal’s speeches in poll rallies that if people voted for AAP, he would not have to go back to prison on June 2. “It is his assumption, we cannot say anything”, the Bench told Mehta.
It added, “Our order is very clear about when he has to surrender. It is the order of the Supreme Court. The rule of law shall be governed by this order.” Mehta alleged that Kejriwal had violated the bail condition by his assertion.
“What is he trying to imply? It is like a slap on the institution”, the Solicitor General said.
Justice Khanna said the Court’s order is clear that he has to surrender on June 2.
“We have not said anything in the order that he cannot speak about the case”, the Bench said.
Without naming Home Minister Amit Shah, Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who was appearing for Kejriwal, referred to an interview where he said many believe the Court accorded “special treatment” to the AAP leader.
The Bench told Singhvi it will not go into that.
The senior lawyer denied that Kejriwal had made any statement about having to go back to jail if people did not vote for his party. Singhvi said he can swear an affidavit to that effect.
The top Court was hearing Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise scam.
On May 10, the apex Court had granted Kejriwal interim bail till June 1, the last day of the 7-phase Lok Sabha elections, and directed him to surrender and go back to jail on June 2.
The Delhi Chief Minister was arrested on March 21.
The Court had, however, barred Kejriwal from visiting his office or the Delhi Secretariat and signing official files unless absolutely necessary for obtaining the Lieutenant Governor’s approval.
The matter relates to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi Government’s now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22. (PTI)