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Delhi CM Kejriwal can’t get special treatment in jail | Latest News Delhi

Delhi CM Kejriwal can’t get special treatment in jail | Latest News Delhi


New Delhi The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday opposed Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to increase the frequency of his meetings with lawyers from twice to five times weekly, arguing that he cannot be given any special treatment just because he wants to run his government from jail.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal being taken to Tihar Jail after a court sent him to judicial custody till April 15 in connection with a money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor policy in New Delhi. (HT PHOTO)

Even as special judge Kaveri Baweja set down Kejriwal’s plea for pronouncement of the order on April 9, the agency stressed that even if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener opts to govern Delhi from prison, he should not be given extraordinary privileges, citing the risk of misuse and orders being relayed through lawyers.

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“Merely because someone chooses to run the government from the prison he cannot be treated as an exception and cannot be granted the privilege,” special public prosecutor (SPP) Zoheb Hossain argued.

Appearing for ED, Hossain pointed out that the legal meetings are being misused for purposes other than consultation. He also submitted that there are statements saying that orders are being passed through the lawyers.

Hossain also argued that allowing five legal meetings is against the jail manual.

Advocate Vivek Jain, appearing for Kejriwal, submitted that there are 35 to 40 different cases going on against his client , and that meetings for half an hour twice a week are not sufficient for a person to understand the nuances of the pending matters and give instructions. He further argued that access to proper and adequate legal representation is a basic right. Jain claimed that AAP MP Sanjay Singh was also granted permission to meet his counsel three times a week when he was in judicial custody in connection with the same case. Singh was released on bail by the Supreme Court earlier this week.

Jain submitted that ED’s fears about the meetings being misused are misplaced.

“Their apprehension is that the meetings would be used for extraneous purposes, that can also be done in the two meetings that are available”, submitted Jain adding there are eight people standing close to Kejriwal during such meetings.

Following the conclusion of arguments from both sides, the special judge reserved verdict, saying it would be pronounced on April 9, Tuesday.

Kejriwal’s arrest on March 21 by ED has sparked controversy, with the AAP leader insisting that he would continue as CM despite being in custody. He also issued two orders, and conveyed a message to legislators, from ED custody.

ED has accused the CM of being the “kingpin” and “key conspirator” of the Delhi excise policy scam, alleging that he acted in cahoots with ministers of his cabinet and other leaders while naming the AAP as the beneficiary of the alleged crime in the form of a “company”.

Kejriwal was on Monday sent to Tihar jail following his 10-day custodial interrogation.

Delhi excise policy case has embroiled several high-profile names, including former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) legislator K Kavitha, who are presently incarcerated in the Capital’s Tihar jail. AAP MP Singh’s release on bail earlier this week came after the top court asked the agency why Singh should be kept behind bars after serving six months in jail, considering that there doesn’t appear to be any concrete evidence against him, and no money has been recovered linking him to the alleged money laundering offence. Another AAP lawmaker Satyendar Jain is also lodged in Tihar jail over charges of money laundering in a different case.

The case, which pertains to accusations of corruption, money laundering, and irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy, has seen the ED taking a stringent stance against the accused.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by ED, hours after the Delhi high court denied his request for interim protection from arrest — a startling turn of events that left the Capital’s politics in turmoil and pushed to new heights the ongoing conflict between the Union government and the AAP.

On Wednesday, the Delhi high court reserved judgment on Kejriwal’s petition challenging the validity of his arrest, amidst his claims that it was a politically motivated move aimed at undermining him and denting his party’s electoral prospects ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

On Thursday, the Delhi high court turned down a plea for the removal of Kejriwal as CM following his arrest, saying that although personal interests should occasionally take a backseat to national interests, it was ultimately Kejriwal’s decision to stay in office. The HC remarked that courts do not remove a chief minister, adding it would not “enter into this thicket” since the issue was already being examined by the lieutenant governor.



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