Delhi HC lists ED’s plea against bail to Kejriwal in excise 'scam' for July 15

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In this Thursday, March 28, 2024 file photo, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal leaves from the Rouse Avenue Court in the excise policy-linked money laundering case

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday listed for July 15 the Enforcement Directorate's plea challenging bail granted to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the money laundering case stemming from the alleged excise scam.

The high court had earlier stayed the trial court’s June 20 order by which Kejriwal was granted bail in the case.

Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, who was scheduled to hear the plea, was informed by the counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that they were served with Kejriwal’s reply to their petition only late Tuesday night and the agency requires some time to file a rejoinder.

While the probe agency’s lawyer submitted that the copy of the reply was served to them at 11 PM on Tuesday, Kejriwal’s counsel maintained that it was served to the investigating officer (IO) of the case at 1 PM.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, mentioned the matter before the court, saying a specific time be fixed for the hearing as there is extreme urgency in the case.

However, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that the agency was served with the reply copy of Kejriwal only on Tuesday night and they need some time to go through the response and file their rejoinder to it.

He contended that the documents are supposed to be served to the advocate appearing in the case and not the IO.

Opposing the agency’s argument, Kejriwal’s lawyer urged the court to hear the matter during the day itself and alleged that the ED wanted to prolong the case.

The court, however, said it is not disputed that the ED was served with the reply copy on Tuesday and the agency was entitled to file a rejoinder to it. The court granted time to the ED to file its rejoinder and listed the matter for hearing on July 15.

On June 20, Kejriwal was granted bail by a trial court here on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh.

The ED moved the high court the next day and contended that the trial court's order was "perverse", "one-sided" and "wrong-sided" and that the findings were based on irrelevant facts.

The high court, on June 21, imposed an interim stay on the trial court’s bail order till passing of an order on ED’s application for interim relief. It had issued notice and asked Kejriwal to file a reply to ED’s petition.

On June 25, the high court passed a detailed order staying the trial court’s order granting bail to Kejriwal.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED and the CBI on March 21 and June 26 respectively in the money laundering and corruption cases.

The excise policy was scrapped in 2022 after the Delhi lieutenant governor ordered a CBI probe into alleged irregularities and corruption involving its formulation and execution.

According to the CBI and the ED, irregularities were committed while modifying the excise policy and undue favours extended to licence holders.