The Supreme Court today reacted to the statement of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who is now on interim bail, that if people vote for broom (symbol of AAP), he will not have to return to jail as directed by the Supreme Court.

When the statement was pointed out by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the Court said that if the rule of law will govern the country, Arvind Kejriwal will have to return to prison on June 2 in compliance with its order. The Court added that it is an order of the Apex Court and that it does not mind criticism of its order, but that the order is clear on when Kejriwal has to surrender.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta was hearing Arvind Kejriwal's plea challenging the Delhi High Court's Judgment upholding his arrest in the PMLA case.

Towards the end of his submissions on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pointed out the statement of Kejriwal by saying, "According to me, as an officer of the Court it is a slap on the system by the Petitioner (Arvind Kejriwal). What to do? Whether to do? It's for your lordships to consider. The Petitioner treats himself as a special person. We treat him as any ordinary citizen committing an offence. Please see this My Lord, these are his first day's utterances and I undertake to place this on record with an affidavit."

Tushar Mehta handed over a copy of the statements made by Kejriwal after release and submitted that as per the order, Kejriwal is not supposed to discuss the case.

"No, we said he will not discuss his role in the case, that's the difference between...what we said was that he will not discuss his role in the case. About the case, we did not say anything", Justice Khanna clarified.

Justice Datta asked, "What has he said?"

SG Mehta said, "I have the video also, I can play it as well."

Mehta then read from the speech delivered by Kejriwal: "They say that I have to go back to jail in 20 days."

Justice Datta said, "That is our order. Right?"

Mehta continued, "If you vote for broom (Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol) then I will not have to go to jail."

Justice Khanna said, "That's his assumption. I don't know, that's his assumption. Our order is clear."

Tushar Mehta further submitted that it is a slap on the system that if the people vote for him then Kejriwal will not have to go to jail on June 2. "How can that happen?" Mehta submitted.

"It's the direction of the court that matters," Justice Khanna said.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal then submitted, "I didn't think, my learned friend would say this, he (Kejriwal) was alleging malafide against the government, if he (Solicitor General) is going to file an affidavit, I will file an affidavit about the top Minister of this government ....why should he (Solicitor General) say this?"

Justice Khanna then interrupted and said, "One minute please. Look, critical analysis or even criticism of the Judgment is welcome, you may have different view points, we got no difficulty with that...Our order is very clear, we have fixed the timelines that on so and so date he is on bail and on so and so date he has to surrender," he said.

Justice Khanna further remarked, "Our order is an order of the Court, and that's the order of the Apex Court. If rule of law is to govern, it will be governed by that...Our order is very clear, we have specifically said we are not making any exception for anybody. What we felt was justified, we passed the order."

"This is slapping an institution and I take exception of that. That's all. I leave it at that," Tushar Mehta concluded.

After having heard the submission of ED at length, the Court has scheduled the matter for further hearing tomorrow at 2:30 pm.

Pertinently, on May 10, the Court had granted Interim Bail to the Delhi Chief Minister till June 1. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 in a money laundering case stemming from the Delhi excise policy scam.

On May 7, the Bench had clarified that, if it releases Kejriwal on bail, it does not want him to perform official duties.

Last week, the Court had observed that it may consider granting interim bail to Kejriwal on account of elections. Earlier on April 29, the Bench had asked the Senior Counsel appearing for the Delhi CM, "Why have you not filed any Application For bail?"

Previously, the Enforcement Directorate had filed an extensive Affidavit-in-reply to the Special Leave Petition by the Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, assailing the order passed by the Delhi High Court upholding the arrest and remand in the money laundering case. In its reply, the ED had alleged that Arvind Kejriwal is the kingpin and key conspirator in the Delhi Liquor Policy Excise Scam, responsible for the mass destruction of evidence and the main facilitator of the new policy for the bribe givers.

The ED had earlier, stated in its Affidavit that there are reasons to believe based on material in possession that Kejriwal is guilty of the offence of Money Laundering. The ED had also made a comparative table to demonstrate the changes made that were allegedly arbitrary and irrational, made only to ensure large-scale profits to the bribe givers. It was also stated by the ED that Arvind Kejriwal was asked to provide the password to his mobile phones again and again, but he refused to share the same and even his statements during custody would reveal that despite being confronted with materials, the petitioner chose to give completely evasive answers.

Cause Title: Arvind Kejriwal v. Directorate of Enforcement [SLP (Crl) No. 5154/2024]