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Excise policy case: Kejriwal remanded in judicial custody till April 15

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) A Delhi court on Monday sent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15, noting the Enforcement Directorate's contention that his release could hamper the investigation into the Delhi excise policy-linked money laundering case. Underscoring that Kejriwal was misleading it, the federal probe agency said it was still investigating the chief minister's role, unearthing the further proceeds of crime and identifying the other persons involved with the activities related to proceeds of crime.

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Kejriwal, who is the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was produced in the court of Special Judge Kaveri Baweja after his ED custody came to an end.

"Since the investigation of the case is stated to be pending qua role of the arrestee, for unearthing the further proceeds of crime and identifying the other person who may be involved or connected, the accused is remanded to judicial custody till April 15," the judge said.

Kejriwal is the fourth AAP leader to land in jail after Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and former minister Satyendar Jain. All were arrested by central probe agencies in corruption cases.

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The chief minister's petition challenging his arrest will come up for hearing before the Delhi High Court on April 3.

In its order, the court of Judge Baweja noted the contentions of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in its remand application, including the likelihood of Kejriwal's release hampering the ongoing investigation.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju is representing the agency in the case.

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The court also noted that ASG Raju, while referring to a 2023 ruling of the Supreme Court, said that the agency "reserves its right to seek further custody remand of the accused" in the future, if required.

"It is submitted (by the ASG) that the further custody remand of the accused may be necessary in view of the fact that he was found to be giving evasive replies and concealing material information during custodial interrogation," the court said.

The ED had earlier sought 15-day judicial custody of Kejriwal, saying he was "totally uncooperative".

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Talking to reporters before entering the court, Kejriwal said, "Whatever the prime minister is doing(referring to his arrest) is not good for the country." AAP ministers Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal were present in court.

The federal probe agency had arrested Kejriwal on March 21 in connection with the case related to the now-scrapped 2021-22 excise policy.

The next day, Judge Baweja remanded him to the custody of the ED till March 28. Following this, the court allowed the ED's plea requesting extension of his custodial interrogation by four days till April 1.

In its custodial remand application, the probe agency has accused the AAP leader of "being involved in the entire conspiracy of Delhi liquor scam, in drafting and implementation of the policy, for favouring and benefiting the quid pro receiving kickbacks and eventually using part of proceeds of crime generated out of the scheduled offence in the election campaign for Goa Assembly elections". PTI MNR MNR ANB ANB

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