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HomeCity NewsDelhi Excise Policy PMLA Case: Court Grants Bail to Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Excise Policy PMLA Case: Court Grants Bail to Arvind Kejriwal

The Rouse Avenue court on Thursday granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's regular bail in a money laundering case related to Delhi Excise Policy. Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed the bail application.

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The Rouse Avenue court on Thursday granted bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s regular bail in a money laundering case related to Delhi Excise Policy. Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed the bail application.

Vacation judge Nyay Bindu granted bail to Arvind Kejriwal on furnishing bail bond of Rs One Lakh. The bail bond will be furnished tomorrow. A detailed order will be uploaded tomorrow. The court refused the request of ED to postpone the process of filing of bail bond for 48 hours. ED requested the postponement so that they could avail their legal remedy to challenge the order at the High Court. The Court has also said that the bail order has not been stayed.

The court said that it would record the submissions of ED’s special counsel Zoheb Hossain. While opposing the bail application, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju submitted that bribe money was sent for Goa election by Hawala transaction and Arvind Kejriwal was in touch with Angadiya (Hawala dealers). The bribe money was sent by Vinod Chauhan and it was received by Chanpreet Singh Rayat who was handling the election of AAP in Goa.

ASG Raju further submitted that Kejriwal stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Goa in November 2021. Bill of Rs One lakh was paid in two instalments. It was paid by Chanpreet Singh from his bank account. It is established by his bank records. There is evidence that Chanpreet paid hotel bill of Kejriwal at Goa, he added.

It was further submitted that Chanpreet is the person who received Rs 45 crore from different Angadiyas. His bail plea has been rejected by the trial court. He further submitted that Chanpreet was unable to explain how he got the money. He paid for Arvind Kejriwal’s stay in a 7-star hotel in Goa. In the same Goa campaign kickback money was used for the same.

ASG also referred to the bail dismissal order of Chanpreet Singh. The bribe money was used in the Goa election campaign, ASG submitted. He further submitted that Chanpreet was the person who received a huge amount from Angadiya and paid Kejriwal’s hotel bill in Goa.

ASG referred to the statement of Sagar Patel. As per the statement, three people received cash, including Chanpreet Singh. ASG submitted that the Instructions were given by Vinod Chauhan to make payments to Chanpreet at Goa and others. The photo of the matching note (used for Hawala transaction) have been found on the phone of Vinod Chauhan.

ASG SV Raju also submitted that Arvind Kejriwal was in touch with Vinod Chauhan through chats. Acknowledgement by Arvind Kejriwal to chats show proximity with Vinod Chauhan. He argued that Kejriwal is not giving the password of his mobile phone as many skeletons will come out from it. It has adversarial inferences in bail matters.

It was also submitted that Rs One crore has been recovered from the house of Vinod Chauhan. The Court asked, has AAP been implicated as an accused? ASG said yes.

It was also submitted that Section 70 of PMLA directly applies to Kejriwal as he is the incharge of AAP which is a company in terms of Section 70 of PMLA, ASG contended. Kejriwal is national convenor of AAP and incharge of the affairs of the party, ASG said.

He also mentioned the alleged role of Vijay Nair and submitted that he had nothing to do with the making of excise policy but was roped in. He was the person who asked people to give bribes. He organised and facilitated the meetings. As per the statements, Kejriwal told many people that he (Vijay Nair) is his man, you tell him what you want, ASG submitted. It shows the proximity of Vijay Nair with Kejriwal. He has number of meetings with liquor groups, ASG added.

These are not only statements, they are corroborated by the evidence, He added. The statement shows Magunta Srinivas Reddy met Arvind Kejriwal, ASG said. ASG argued that Kejriwal was not arrested, though multiple summons were issued, High court did not grant him relief after seeing the material, thereafter he was arrested, ASG submitted.

The High Court found the material adequate, otherwise, he would have granted relief. ASG also said the timing of arrest is not a ground for granting bail.

Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari made rebuttal submissions for Arvind Kejriwal. He argued that the case began in August 2022. Till July 2023, they had material against Kejriwal but the first summons to him came in October. He was called by the CBI as a witness. On Jan 12, 2024, an email was sent to him.

This email was sent in reply to letters that Kejriwal had sent in response to their summons. They say Kejriwal is not being called as convenor of the AAP or as Delhi Chief Minister. Senior advocate Chaudhari argued that on March 16, 2024, the elections were announced. On the same day, a summons was issued to Kejriwal. On March 20, Kejriwal’s matter was listed before the Delhi High Court, and a notice was issued to him.

On March 21, the High Court issued notice on Kejriwal’s another stay application but denied interim relief, on the same day that they arrested him. Chaudhari referred to Delhi High Court order rejecting Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest by ED.

The High Court has said that this was not a plea for bail but only against arrest. Why did the HC say this? Because the arrest may be legal in the technical sense, but was it proper? He also referred to Supreme Court order granting interim bail to Kejriwal. The first word is leave granted (against HC order). ED says the HC order is binding on this court. The SC is yet to give its order on appeal against High Court order. Supreme Court allowed him to approach the trial court.

It was further submitted that the order in Manish Sisodia’s case has nothing to do with Kejriwal. Chaudhari also made submissions in relation to Section 45 of PMLA. He said that When it comes to Sec 45 PMLA twin condition, my ladyship will have to take at least a cursory glance at the statements made. If the statement on the face of it is tainted, then it must be looked at and the court has to come to a prima facie conclusion. ED’s case is based on the approver’s statement.

Chaudhari raised a question and asked if ED is an independent agency or if it is in the hands of some political masters. If they are still collecting the material, then it is an unending investigation, Chaudhari added.

They say I am the national convenor of AAP and that’s why I am responsible for everything done by party. There is nothing to show that Rs 45 crores were ever received by AAP. They are still arresting and evaluating but keep on making statement that Rs 100 crore bribe was received, he argued. How the name of Kejriwal can be associated with Angadiya paying money to Chanpreet Singh? They didn’t take my name. How does it prove that it is the same amount of proceeds of crime? There is nothing to show that it was used for the Goa elections. Chanpreet does not say anywhere that he has paid for the AAP election or that he collected proceeds of crime, he argued.

Chaudhari also opposed the submissions of ED that Vinod Chauhan is associated with Kejriwal. If someone is wishing him Happy Birthday and you are saying this is a hawala conversation. He further argued that the person who is alleged to have given the money has denied that he gave any money. There are no regular chats between Kejriwal and Vinod Chauhan. Just because his number is saved in Kejriwal’s phone, it is assumed that he got his posting done through Kejriwal. I am astonished at this kind of evidence, he added.

Chaudhari also referred to the statement of Vijay Nair in his statement of November 18, 2022, in which he said he reported to Ms Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj but the ED continues to say he was working under Kejriwal’s direct orders. There is no proof that I have ever instructed Nair to hold any meeting or demand a bribe. It was also submitted that co-accused K Kavitha has denied any role. She is still in jail. The person who agrees with them (ED) is rewarded.

In his concluding arguments, Chaudhari said, Don’t treat me (Kejriwal ) as someone special. I (Kejriwal) don’t want to be treated as a special person. But please give the treatment to me as you would to an ordinary person.

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