The Enforcement Directorate has filed an Affidavit-in-reply to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's prayer for Interim Bail from the Supreme Court. Kejriwal is in Judicial Custody in a money laundering case stemming from the Delhi excise policy scam.

He was arrested by the ED on March 21. Pertinently, Rouse Avenue Court Judge on May 7 extended Kejriwal's judicial custody till May 20.

The ED has contended that the right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right, and not even a legal right. It stated that "no political leader has ever been granted interim bail for campaigning even if he is not contesting polls." It also stated that even a contesting candidate is not granted interim bail if he is in custody for his own campaigning.

Emphasizing that there is no reason why special prayer for a special treatment by Kejriwal be acceded to, the Affidavit read, "Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act alone presently there are many politicians who are in judicial custody and their cases are examined by competent courts upholding their custody. There must be several political leaders in judicial custody throughout the country in non-PMLA offences."

Further, the ED stated that a politician can claim no special status higher than that of an ordinary citizen and is as much liable to be arrested and detained for committing offences as any other citizen.

"If right to campaign is treated as a basis for grant of interim bail it would breach the principles of Article 14 for the reason that harvesting for a farmer would be equally important factor seeking interim bail as would a board meeting or an annual general meeting for a director of a company who commits a crime as these are their respective vocations or professions," the Affidavit read.

The ED has highlighted that Kejriwal has not filed any application for regular bail or interim bail before the Supreme Court or any other court. The ED has said that it is the consistent approach of the Supreme Court to relegate parties to remedy of bail under CrPC when arrest is challenged as illegal.

The Apex Court is likely to pass an order on the Delhi CM's Interim Bail on May 10.

On May 7, the Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta had clarified that, if they release Kejriwal on bail, they do 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. The ED in its reply has 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 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 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]

Click here to read/download Affidavit