Kejriwal arrested by ED in Delhi excise case

In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with its probe into money laundering case, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj confirmed in a tweet.

According to officials, arrested Delhi CM Kejriwal will be produced before special PMLA court on Friday and ED will seek his custody for interrogation.

Delhi CM late Thursday night moved the Supreme Court challenging his arrest. The court will take up the matter on Friday.

— Saurabh_MLAgk (@Saurabh_MLAgk)

Check the Latest Arvind Kejriwal News Live

On Kejriwal’s arrest AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj also said, “the Chief Minister’s house was searched. They just found Rs 70,000 in cash…They have taken the Chief Minister’s mobile and have arrested him. They haven’t got any proof, evidence…or money trail…”

Reportedly, as many as 4-5 phones and two tablets have been seized by the ED from the Kejriwal’s residence.

Kejriwal was arrested from his official residence hours after the Delhi High Court refused to pass any orders on his application for “no coercive action” by the ED against him in the excise policy case.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said that Arvind Kejriwal will not seek urgent hearing on plea for protection in SC tonight.

On the other hand, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi said that they have filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to quash the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal by the ED.

“We have requested an urgent hearing by the Supreme Court tonight,” she added.

Atishi also said that Arvind Kejriwal will continue as the chief minister and run the city government from prison if needed after his arrest by the ED in an excise policy-linked money laundering case. Atishi asserted that Kejriwal will continue as the chief minister of Delhi. “If need be, he will run the government from jail. There is no rule that stops him from running the government from jail,” she told reporters.

The BJP demanded that Kejriwal should step down as chief minister on moral grounds.

In a day of fast-paced developments, a 10-member ED team led by an additional director reached his official residence on Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines in the national capital soon after the high court order and carried out searches. He was arrested more than two hours after the ED team arrived at his residence, officials said.

Kejriwal had skipped nine summonses issued by the agency for questioning in the case, the latest being for Thursday, March 21. He has called these summonses “illegal”.

As the ED officials carried out their action inside, additional Delhi Police personnel and Rapid Action Force (RAF) and CRPF teams were deployed around the chief minister’s residence.

The additional deployment was made as the ED sought extra security measures in anticipation of protests by AAP supporters, sources said.

A large number of AAP workers and leaders gathered near the chief minister’s residence and shouted slogans hailing Kejriwal and denouncing the ED action.

The Delhi Police also stepped up security around the agency office on A P J Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has termed Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest as ‘unconstitutional’.

“Targeting Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal in this manner due to elections is completely wrong and unconstitutional. Lowering the level of politics in this manner suits neither the Prime Minister nor his government,” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in an X post following Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED.

— priyankagandhi (@priyankagandhi)

Reacting to Kejriwal’s arrest, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that ‘a scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy’.

Wayanad MP Gandhi in a X post said that, “A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy. While capturing all the institutions including the media, breaking up the parties, extorting money from companies, freezing the account of the main opposition party was not enough for the ‘devilish power’, now the arrest of the elected Chief Ministers has also become a common thing. INDIA will give a befitting reply to this.”

— RahulGandhi (@RahulGandhi)

Earlier reacting to the development, Atishi said that this is very clearly a conspiracy.

“This is very clearly a conspiracy. In two years, ED and CBI have not been able to find even Rs 1 of proceeds of crime. The Delhi high court had today given notice to ED. So, what was the need to deploy thousands of police personnel and paramilitary forces here? PM Modi wants Kejriwal arrested before the Lok Sabha polls,” she said.

Many AAP leaders also alleged that the action was taken to prevent the chief minister to move the Supreme Court after the high court’s decision not to allow him interim relief from coercive action.

Earlier on Thursday, Kejriwal moved the Supreme Court against the high court’s order denying him protection from coercive action in an excise policy-linked money laundering case, PTI reported citing sources.

The move came hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him any interim protection.

A high court bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain listed the AAP leader’s application seeking protection for further consideration on April 22, when his main petition challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s summons is fixed for hearing.

The ED’s action is virtually a replay of what transpired during the arrest last week of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha, who is now in ED custody in the same case.

The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped.

AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are in judicial custody in the case.

Kejriwal’s name has been mentioned multiple times in the charge sheets filed by the ED. The agency has alleged that the accused were in touch with Kejriwal for formulating the excise policy that resulted in undue benefits to them in return for which they paid kickbacks to the AAP.

The ED had recently alleged in a statement that BRS leader Kavitha and some others “conspired” with top AAP leaders like Kejriwal and Sisodia to get favours in the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy by paying Rs 100 crore to the political party that rules Delhi.

Forty-six-year-old Kavitha, the MLC daughter of former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, was arrested by the federal agency last week from her Hyderabad home and she is in custody till March 23.

(With inputs from agencies)

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