Excise policy case: Arvind Kejriwal sent to judicial custody till April 15


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will spend the next two weeks in jail in the liquor policy case after his Enforcement Directorate custody ends today. The probe agency did not seek custody of the AAP leader, after which a local court this morning sent him to jail till April 15.

The court has also allowed him to meet his wife Sunita Kejriwal and ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj before he is shifted to the Tihar Jail.

Mr Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 in the alleged liquor policy scam after he skipped nine central agency summons, and has been running his government from the ED lock-up since then.

In Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court, where Mr Kejriwal was produced this morning before the expiry of his probe agency custody, the ED said he had been “uncooperative” and was giving evasive answers. He did not reveal the passwords of his digital devices, the ED told the court.

The central agency, which is probing money laundering charges in the alleged liquor policy scam, also said it may need his custody again in the future.

The agency said Mr Kejriwal gave false evidence against other AAP members, and when confronted with the statements of his own party leaders, he called them confused. He also said that Vijay Nair, AAP communications in-charge who has turned an approver, didn’t report to him but to Atishi and Mr Bhardwaj, according to the ED.

The Chief Minister has also moved the Delhi High Court against his arrest, arguing that his fundamental rights were violated by the probe agency. The court had issued a notice to the ED, seeking a reply by April 2. The hearing will resume on April 3.

Mr Kejriwal is the third AAP leader after his former deputy Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh to be arrested in the liquor policy case. He has dubbed his arrest a “political conspiracy”.

The excise policy was introduced to bring an overhaul to the liquor business in Delhi but was scrapped after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities in the policy.

The ED believes the policy provided a high profit margin and bribe money was allegedly used to fund the AAP’s election campaigns.