[Excise Policy Scam] 'Bogus Arguments': ASG Raju In Kejriwal’s Plea Before Delhi HC

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Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved the judgment in the plea filed by Arvind Kejriwal contesting his arrest by the ED concerning the excise policy scam

In the plea presented before the Delhi High Court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju today responded to Senior Advocate Singhvi's assertion concerning the political motivations behind the timing of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest.

ASG Raju underscored that the forthcoming 2024 elections held no sway over the Directorate of Enforcement’s (ED) investigation.

He further affirmed that offences committed necessitated investigation and would entail consequences. He remarked, “I will loot the country but you can't arrest me because elections are coming? This is a bogus argument”. 

ASG Raju, in response to Singhvi's claims of absence of evidence demonstrating the proceeds of crime, stated that in numerous instances, individuals have been tried for murder despite the absence of a body. The lack of a body does not negate the possibility of murder, and the accused can still be convicted of the crime. 

Additionally, he argued, “If a political person commits a murder 2 days before elections, does not mean he would not be arrested. How will arresting a person be against basic structure?”.

Criminals and suspects cannot claim immunity from arrest simply because elections are imminent, he stated.

He remarked that it was illogical to argue that criminals should be shielded from legal consequences due to their political involvement during election periods. 
Earlier in the day, representing Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, highlighted the timing of the arrest as crucial.

He pointed out that the first summons was issued on October 31, 2023, but the arrest did not occur until March 21, 2024. Singhvi questioned the sudden need for the arrest, suggesting it was motivated by ulterior motives aimed at humiliating Arvind Kejriwal.

The sole purpose of arresting Kejriwal is to humiliate and disable the party... There would be no need for arrest if alternative methods of interrogation such as video conferencing or visiting my residence were available”, he contended.

He emphasized a key aspect of the case “the lack of supportive evidence under Section 50 of the PMLA”.

Additionally, Singhvi clarified that Kejriwal had responded to each summons, asserting his non-appearance should not be seen as evasion. He stressed that the decision to arrest should have adhered to the specific criteria outlined in Section 19 of the PMLA, balancing arrest and bail provisions. 

He noted, “Another aspect of the necessity for arrest is whether the person is a flight risk. How could Kejriwal be a flight risk after one year? What could Kejriwal possibly do now to hinder your investigation?... Look at the remand application itself which suggests they want to know the future role of CM. That cannot be grounds for today's arrest”. 

Moreover, Singhvi cited statements made by Magunta Reddya and his son Raghav Reddy, indicating that the prosecution had failed to present any exculpatory statements and condemned the prosecutor's actions as reprehensible. Singhvi observed, “Well after the arrest, four statements, then because you have quid pro quo about bail. There are two statements later, they are contrary to earlier statements and Raghav given absolute bail within 10 days of making such a statement... Raghav's father made statements to secure bail for his son…This is surely a cat-and-mouse game”. 

He further contended that "when you have only got a person whose initial statements are not against me, then they are arrested and then they give incriminating statements, such statements are very weak."

He contended that if Kejriwal was arrested under a standalone offence, then the heart of the offence was the proceeds of the crime, yet even after two years, there was no material to show the proceeds of the crime.

Senior Advocate Singhvi asserted that the use of certain statements to secure bail, followed by contradictory statements, raises questions about the integrity of the prosecution's actions. Additionally, the application of Section 70 was erroneous, as it pertains specifically to companies, not political entities like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Regarding the argument of AAP being a political party, Singhvi contended that "it is specifically for companies. AAP is registered under RPA and cannot be subsumed in the heading of a company in the PMLA statute. PMLA could have included political parties but it does not. Section 70 is falsely used".

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), mentioned that most of Singhvi's arguments seemed as if the proceedings had concluded, with chargesheets already filed.

He emphasized, “We (ED) are at a nascent stage of the investigation, the investigation is beginning as far as Kejriwal's role is concerned”. Referring to the remand order of March 28, 2024, ASG Raju pointed out that if Kejriwal voluntarily accepted further remand, it raised questions about challenging the same remand later. 

ASG Raju asserted that if someone is arrested today and remanded to police custody for five days, and a writ is filed challenging the arrest and remand order, but they are subsequently put in custody due to another remand order, then “even if arrest and first remand order are set aside, the person would be in remand because of subsequent ones. therefore, until you challenge subsequent orders, remand is still legal”. 

Moreover, ASG Raju, while addressing Kejriwal's plea that it is a bail petition disguised as a petition challenging the arrest to overcome the requirements of Section 45 of the PMLA, relied on Section 45 and highlighted that numerous accused in this case have been denied bail by all levels of courts, indicating that a prima facie case is established against the accused when bail is rejected.

Concerning the excise policy scam, ASG Raju asserted that during the ten months of the excise policy's operation, approximately 70 crores were considered proceeds of crime from wholesale distributors, indicating a clear-cut finding of money laundering amounting to hundreds of crores. 

Addressing the issue of the motive behind the arrest, ASG Raju stated, “All this (the investigation) is much prior to elections, the fact there was a scam running into hundreds of crores. The election argument is to distract from the main matter. ED also has constraints, a large number of digital devices have been destroyed and ED were given uphill task to find out how this was committed”.


Arvind Kejriwal has filed a plea before the Delhi High Court challenging his arrest by the ED.

Previously, the Rouse Avenue Court has remanded him under judicial custody until April 15, in relation to his alleged involvement in the excise policy scam.

Also, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma had earlier denied interim relief to Kejriwal and only issued a notice on his plea challenging the arrest, along with his interim application seeking immediate release.

In response to the petition, the ED stated that Kejriwal was the main figure and key conspirator of the excise scam, with substantial evidence suggesting his involvement in money laundering offences. The ED, represented by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, asserted that Kejriwal had deliberately ignored summons and was not cooperative during questioning. 

Case Title: Arvind Kejriwal v Directorate of Enforcement