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Excise policy: SC questions ED over delay in probe, asks for case files before Kejriwal’s arrest

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over the “delay” in its probe into the excise policy-linked money laundering case involving Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and asked the agency to produce case files before the arrest of the AAP leader.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta also asked the ED to produce case files before and after the arrest of Delhi’s former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also an accused in the case.
The bench is hearing arguments on Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by the ED in the case.
It questioned the ED on the time taken to probe the case and noted that the agency has taken two years to unearth something The bench also asked why relevant direct questions were not put to witnesses and accused in the case. Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, said initially Kejriwal was not the focus of the investigation in the case and his role became clear at later stage.
He said Kejriwal had stayed in a seven-star hotel during the 2022 Goa Assembly polls and part of the bills were allegedly paid by the Delhi government’s general administration department.
The bench was given a note by Raju in which he contradicted the submission of Kejriwal that the statements of approvers were suppressed by the probe agency.
The arguments in the matter are underway.
Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.
The top court had issued a notice to the ED on April 15 and sought its response to Kejriwal’s plea against his arrest.
On April 9, the Delhi High Court had upheld Kejriwal’s arrest, saying there was no illegality and the ED was left with “little option” after he skipped repeated summonses and refused to join the investigation.
The case relates to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a money-laundering case related to the alleged excise scam till May 20.
Special Judge for CBI and ED Kaveri Baweja extended Kejriwal’s custody till May 20 after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was produced before the court through a video-conference on the expiry of his custody granted earlier.
The judge also extended the judicial custody of co-accused Chanpreet Singh till May 20.

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