Delhi HC today hears CM Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against ED summons in liquor policy case

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will on Monday hear Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging the summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case related to the excise policy. Kejriwal’s plea will be heard before the court of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain.

The agency arrested Kejriwal on March 21 after the Supreme Court refused to grant him interim protection from coercive measures. He has also challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) relating to arrest, interrogation and bail.

The plea will be heard before a bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain. The next day, the court directed the ED to also consider Kejriwal’s plea for protection from arrest, saying it was reluctant to grant interim relief at this time. Later the same evening, Kejriwal was arrested by the ED and is currently in judicial custody.

The federal probe agency alleges that the suspects were in touch with Kejriwal to map out the now-repealed excise policy, which resulted in undue favors to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in exchange for bribes. In the plea, Kejriwal has raised several issues, including whether a political party is covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

It alleged that the arbitrary procedure under PMLA was used to create an uneven playing field for the general elections to “distort the electoral process in favor of the ruling party at the Centre”. Described as a “vocal critic” of the ruling party and an associate of the India Bloc, the petitioner claims that the ED is “weaponized” under the control of the central government.