Delhi High Court dismisses Kejriwal's plea against ED arrest

Shailesh Khanduri
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Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal arrives to appear before the Rouse Avenue Court in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, in New Delhi, Monday, April 1, 2024.

Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is in judicial custody in a money laundering case linked with the alleged excise scam (Delhi liquor scam), challenging his arrest.


Besides his arrest, Kejriwal had also challenged his subsequent remand in the Enforcement Directorate's custody. He was later remanded in judicial custody and is currently lodged in Tihar jail.

The High Court also upheld the subsequent remand orders of the trial court, including the order through which Arvind Kejiwal was sent to Judicial Custody.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma pronounced the order.


Justice Sharma clarified in the beginning that the petition was not for bail but it was challenging the arrest of Kejriwal under section 19 of PMLA.

Pronouncing the order, Justice Sharma said, “The material collected by ED reveals Mr Arvind Kejriwal conspired and was actively involved in use and concealment of proceeds of crime. The ED case also reveals that he was involved in his personal capacity as well as convenor of AAP.

“In the present case among several statements the statements of Raghav Magunta and Sarath Reddy are approver statements which were recorded under PMLA as well as Section 164 CrPC.


“To cast doubt on the manner of recording statement of approver would amount to casting aspersions on the Court and judge.

“The law of approver is more than 100 years old. It is not a one year old law to suggest as if it was enacted to falsely implicate the petitioner.

“On the question of non supply of documents and earlier statements (of approvers), I've said that you're entitled to inspect documents at the appropriate stage of trial. However, this is not the stage.


"Who gives tickets for contesting election or who purchases electoral bonds is not the concern of the court.

"Kejriwal will have the right to cross examine the witnesses. The said person will have to answer it at that stage. This court cannot step into shoes of trial court and conduct mini trial in writ jurisdiction.

“The investigating agency under criminal jurisprudence can't be directed to conduct investigation as per convenience of a person. It will take it's own course.


“This court won't lay down different categories of laws, one for common citizens and other for granting special privileges for a Chief Minister.

“This court is of the opinion that the accused has been arrested and his arrest and remand has to be examined as per law and not as per timing of elections.

"Shri Kejriwal must have been aware of the Lok Sabha dates, he would have known when the elections were to be held. It cannot be held that the arrest timing was decided by the ED.


"“ED was in possession of enough material which had led them to arrest Kejriwal. Non joining of investigation by Kejriwal, delay caused by him was also impacted those in judicial custody.

“We hold that judges are bound by law not politics. Judgements are given on legal principles not political considerations. Court cannot go into the realm of politics. Political considerations cannot be brought before the Court as they are not relevant.

"The matter before this court is not a conflict between central govt and Kejriwal. It's a case between Kejriwal and ED. The Court must remain vigilant that it is not influenced by any extraneous factors. We are concerned with constitutional morality not political morality.

"The files and material placed before us reveals that the mandate of law was followed by the ED. The trial court order is not a two line order. The statements with ED are of hawala dealers as well as an AAP Candidate in Goa elections.

"We have gone through the statement which completes the chan and show that money was sent to Goa elections. Rigours of Section 70 PMLA are attracted in this case.

"This court holds that ED was able to place enough material, statements of approvers and their own candidate stating that he was given money for Goa Elections. It completes the chain regarding the money sent for Goa elections.

"This court holds that arrest of Kejriwal was not in contravention of section concerned or the case of Pankaj Bansal. His remand can't be termed as illegal."

The AAP national convener had questioned the "timing" of his arrest by the agency and said it was in contravention of the basic structure of the Constitution, including democracy, free and fair elections and level playing field.

The ED has opposed the plea and contended that Kejriwal cannot claim "immunity" from arrest on the ground of upcoming elections as law is applied equally to him and an "aam aadmi".

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 after the high court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by the federal anti-money laundering agency.

He was sent to judicial custody in the case on April 1 after he was produced in the trial court on expiry of ED custody.

The matter 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.