Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal till 1 June

The Supreme Court swiftly granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal until June 1, 2024. This decision follows Kejriwal’s arrest on March 21, 2024, by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Delhi Liquor Policy case. However, he is expected to return to judicial custody on June 2, just before the announcement of the 2024 Lok Sabha Election results.

Here’s a summary of the legal proceedings leading up to this decision:

Upon his arrest, Kejriwal contested the legality of his detention under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. His legal counsel, Senior Advocate A.M. Singhvi, argued that the arrest was unjustified due to inconsistencies in witness statements and raised concerns about the timing of Kejriwal’s arrest, suggesting it was politically motivated.

Last week, the Supreme Court hinted at the possibility of granting interim bail, considering the imminent Delhi Lok Sabha Elections scheduled to commence on May 25, 2024.

During this week’s hearing, the Enforcement Directorate, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, argued against granting bail. They cited new evidence uncovered during the investigation and Kejriwal’s alleged non-cooperation, including his failure to respond to nine summonses over six months.

The court expressed apprehensions about the potential impact of granting bail on Kejriwal’s ability to fulfill his duties as Chief Minister.

Following today’s decision, Mehta expressed dissatisfaction, highlighting Kejriwal’s purported lack of cooperation with the investigation. However, Justice Sanjiv Khanna downplayed the significance of a few additional days of freedom, considering Kejriwal’s prolonged custody since March.

Yesterday, the Enforcement Directorate filed an affidavit opposing interim bail for Kejriwal, arguing against granting preferential treatment to a political leader during election campaigning. Kejriwal responded with a counter-affidavit, criticizing the timing of the Enforcement Directorate’s filing.

The Supreme Court is yet to specify any conditions for the interim bail, with a detailed order anticipated later today.

In essence, while Kejriwal has been granted interim bail until June 1, 2024, his return to judicial custody is expected before the announcement of the Lok Sabha Election results.

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