Big hearing in Delhi HC today; ED replies to Kejriwal's plea in detail

The ED claims it has evidence to corroborate the statements given by witnesses and Kejriwal's argument of mala fide exercise of power was a "bald averment"

Shailesh Khanduri
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Arvind kejriwal delhi high court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday will resume hearing on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case linked to the "Delhi liquor scam".


The matter is listed for hearing before Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma.

The ED on Tuesday told HC that Kejriwal was the "kingpin" and the "key conspirator" of the "excise scam" and there were "reasons to believe" on the basis of material in its possession that he was guilty of the offence of money laundering.

Opposing the AAP leader's petition, ED said the political party, which was the "major beneficiary" of the proceeds of the crime, has committed the offence through Kejriwal.


"Sh Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi, is the kingpin and key conspirator of the Delhi Excise Scam in collusion with Ministers of Delhi Govt, AAP leaders and other persons.. Sh Arvind Kejriwal was directly involved in the formulation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

"This policy was being drafted considering the favours to be granted to the South Group and was formed in collusion with Sh Vijay Nair, Sh Manish Sisodia and members representatives of the South Group," said the response.

The AAP has committed the offence of money laundering through Kejriwal and the offences thus are covered by section 70, PMLA 2002, it said.


"The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi Liquor Scam. Sh Arvind Kejriwal was and is not only the brain behind the AAP but also controls its major activities, he was also one of the founding members and was also involved in the decision making of the policy as evident from the statements of the witnesses," it added.

On March 27, the high court had refused to grant interim relief to Kejriwal, saying the matter raised important issues that cannot be "summarily" decided without seeking the agency's stand and had asked ED to file its reply to the challenge to his arrest and the subsequent remand to the ED's custody.

In the reply, the ED said after filing of the present petition, the petitioner was further remanded to its custody by way of a well-reasoned and detailed remand order till April 1, when he was subsequently sent to judicial custody by the trial court, which was not opposed by his counsel.


"In light of the above submission made by the petitioner before the Ld. Special Court, PMLA that he has no objection to the custody/ remand being extended further, the petitioner has waived his right to question his custody as on today and the petitioner cannot now be allowed to argue that his custody as on today is illegal," the response added.

The agency asserted that the chief minister cannot be released as an interim measure in the present proceedings when the arrest as well as the remand was according to the procedural requirements under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as well the Constitution of India.

The grounds for his arrest were informed and furnished to Kejriwal in writing, it said.


"There are reasons to believe on the basis of material in possession demonstrates that the applicant is guilty of the offence of money laundering," the reply said.

Replying on statements given by MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and co-accused-turned-approvers Raghav Magunta and Sarath Reddy, the agency alleged that the AAP national convener "demanded kickbacks from the South Group in exchange for awarding favours to them in the formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22".

It further alleged that Vijay Nair "acted as a broker/liaison/middleman" on behalf of the top leaders of the AAP, "specially Arvind Kejriwal", for getting the bribes and he received Rs 100 crore from the "South Group".


"As per the investigation done so far, the proceeds of crime of about Rs. 45 Cr approx. which was part of the bribes received from South Group was used in the election campaign of the in 2021-22," the response said.

Kejriwal is involved in the use of proceeds of the crime thus generated in the Goa election campaign of the AAP of which he is the convener and the ultimate decision-maker, it added.

The ED also claimed it has evidence to corroborate the statements given by witnesses and Kejriwal's argument of mala fide exercise of power was a "bald averment".

"Statements of various persons engaged in the election campaign related activities by the AAP in Goa have revealed that cash payments were made to them for their work done as Survey workers, Area managers, Assembly managers etc.

"These persons have revealed that these payments were given to them in cash and were managed by Sh Chanpreet. These persons and activities related to the election campaign were overall managed by Sh Vijay Nair and Sh Durgesh Pathak, AAP, MLA in Delhi," the reply said.

The present offence, which is punishable under section 4 of the PMLA, is committed amongst others by the AAP which is a company as defined, it said.

"That, the said offence of money laundering has taken place with the consent/connivance and or is attributable to Sh Arvind Kejriwal, who is the National Convenor and is also the Chief Minister of Delhi," it added.

In the response, the agency also urged the court to take into account the conduct of the petitioner, highlighting that despite being given multiple opportunities, Kejriwal failed to appear and did not join the investigation.

He cannot seek to benefit from his own wrong by now saying that he has been arrested without any prior interrogation, the ED said.

Kejriwal, who was arrested on March 21, has sought his release on the ground that the arrest was illegal.

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

Kejriwal's petition asserting that a political party cannot be brought within the ambit of money laundering law is also pending in high court.