10 May 2024

Big Relief to Arvind Kejriwal, Granted Interim Bail by Supreme Court Until This Date

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been granted interim bail by the Supreme Court until June 1, coinciding with the final phase of voting for the seven-stage Lok Sabha election-2024. Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in connection with the alleged Delhi liquor excise policy scam, is currently in Tihar Jail and is required to surrender to prison officials by June 2.

The Supreme Court dismissed arguments regarding the duration of the bail, emphasizing that a 21-day period would not significantly impact the case. The court highlighted that the ED had initiated its case two years ago, with Kejriwal's arrest occurring only in March 2024. 

The bail conditions for Kejriwal are expected to mirror those imposed on his colleague, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who was arrested in October in relation to the same case and granted bail in early April.

Notably, Singh was permitted to engage in political activities, including campaigning for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It is anticipated that Kejriwal will also resume political activities once released, with sources suggesting a potential release from Tihar Jail as early as this evening.

Cong, TMC welcome bail to Kejriwal

The decision to grant bail to Kejriwal has been met with approval from opposition leaders, including the Congress and Trinamool Congress. The Congress leader, Pawan Khera, welcomed the Supreme Court's intervention in granting interim bail to Kejriwal, while Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee expressed happiness over the development.

Earlier, Kejriwal's legal team had requested interim bail until June 4, the day of the election result announcement, to enable him to campaign for the AAP in the lead-up to the election for Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats. However, this request was denied by the court, citing the cessation of campaigning 48 hours before voting.

Bail would set a problematic precedent, ED had said

The ED, which had opposed the grant of bail, argued that releasing Kejriwal for campaigning would set a problematic precedent and emphasized that no politician should be granted special privileges above ordinary citizens in legal matters.

The court acknowledged Kejriwal's status as the elected Chief Minister of Delhi and underscored the need to consider exceptional circumstances warranting his temporary release. It also questioned the ED on the delay in taking action against Kejriwal and his party, emphasizing the importance of expediting the trial process.

Kejriwal's arrest in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam, which allegedly involved kickbacks for license allotment, has been vehemently denied by the AAP and its leaders, who have accused the BJP of making baseless allegations to tarnish their reputation before the election.

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