Money Laundering case: Delhi court grants bail to Arvind Kejriwal


Team Udayavani, Jun 20, 2024, 8:16 PM IST

New Delhi: In a major relief to Arvaind Kejriwal, a Delhi court has granted him bail in a money laundering case related to an alleged excise scam.

Special Judge Niyay Bindu granted bail to the AAP leader on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. Additionally, the court rejected the ED’s request to delay the order for 48 hours.

The court, however, imposed certain conditions on the AAP leader before granting him the relief, including that he will not try to hamper the investigation or influence the witnesses.

The judge also directed Kejriwal to appear before the court whenever required and to cooperate with the investigation.

The judge had reserved the order earlier during the day after hearing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which sought to link Kejriwal to the alleged proceeds of crime and co-accused, and the defence that claimed the prosecution has no evidence to nail the AAP leader.

During the arguments, the ED told the court that on November 7, 2021, Kejriwal stayed at hotel Grand Hyatt in Goa during the assembly poll campaign and the bill was paid by Chanpreet Singh, who is alleged to have managed the AAP funds in the coastal state.

“Rs 1 lakh was paid in two instalments (to the hotel). It was paid by Chanpreet Singh (co-accused) from his bank account. Chanpreet is the person who received Rs 45 crore from different ‘Angadiyas’ (couriers),” the ED told the court.

The Angadia system is an old parallel banking system where traders send cash from one state to another through a trusted courier. It is generally in prevalence in the jewellery business in Mumbai and Gujarat.

The central agency also targeted Kejriwal for repeatedly disobeying summons to join the investigation.

“He showed wilful disobedience of summons. We didn’t arrest him despite him disobeying nine summons,” the ED told the court.

Kejriwal’s counsel, however, asserted that the entire case against him rests on statements.

“The statements are of those people who have confessed to being guilty. They are not saints here. They are those who are not only tainted, but it appears that some who were arrested were given a promise of bail and promise of being granted pardon. Approvers. And there is another category who have not been arrested,” the counsel said.

“Circumstances have to be so intrinsically linked (as to) lead to the guilt. These statements by tainted persons discredit the case of prosecution. There is no evidence that Rs 100 crore came from South Group. These are all statements. There is no evidence,” the counsel said.

According to the ED and the CBI, the South Group is a cartel of politicians, business people and others who lobbied for liquor licences for which they paid bribe to the Delhi’s ruling party.

Kejriwal’s lawyer claimed there were contradictions in the statements made by several co-accused.

“I won’t be surprised if another statement is recorded to fill the lacunae. This is the process they follow. The investigations are always unending. Whenever they want they implicate anyone. This is the biggest instrument of oppression,” he added.

Advancing his arguments on Wednesday, Kejriwal’s counsel said the Supreme Court had granted the chief minister interim bail after being satisfied that there was no likelihood of him trying to escape justice or influence the investigation or witnesses. He also said Kejriwal has no criminal antecedents.

The ED opposed Kejriwal’s application, asserting, “The requirement is not that you don’t have (criminal) antecedents.”

“…that I hold a constitutional post is not relevant for grant of bail under PMLA. It may be an additional factor for refusing bail but the only factor which is relevant is whether he is guilty,” the ED counsel said.

Refuting Kejriwal’s argument that the only evidence the ED had got against him was “approvers’ statements”, the central agency said when it becomes difficult to secure evidence, approvers are made.

“The law recognises it. You can’t say there is inducement…So, it is what the law says,” it said.

The fact that the offence of money laundering has been committed is beyond doubt because the court has taken cognisance and it has not been challenged, it added.

The ED told the court on Wednesday that when former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was made an accused in the case, the AAP was not named as an accused.

“Kejriwal demanded bribe. He asked for bribe of Rs 100 crore. Kejriwal asked for funds for the AAP. Kejriwal demanded kickbacks from South Group. You can’t say he is not guilty of offence. If AAP commits a crime, then every person in charge of the party will be deemed to be guilty,” the ED told Special Judge Niyay Bindu.

“Now AAP has been made an accused. Kejriwal is responsible for the conduct (of the party),” it added.

Kejriwal is the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party.

“Demand (for bribe) is established. The money has gone to Goa. It has gone to hawala dealers. We have recorded statements. Larger chunk of amount was paid in cash is also established. The entire trail has been established,” the ED asserted while opposing Kejriwal’s bail petition.

(with PTI inputs)

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