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Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest by ED in Liquor Policy Case

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Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s Chief Minister, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) yesterday evening, around 9 pm, in an alleged liquor policy scam case. Delhi minister Atishi said that arresting Kejriwal was a conspiracy act done by the BJP government. She continued to say that arresting Kejriwal would not kill off the idea that he represents and he is and will remain Delhi’s CM. He will run the government from the jail if need be. Atishi has also commented and expressed concern over the compromised security of Delhi CM, as he is currently being held in custody by ED, despite having Z+ security.

Nationwide protests are being held by leaders like Gopal Rai (AAP leader), Shashi Tharoor (Congress leader), etc., to showcase their disagreement and anger over the unjustifiable arrest of a serving chief minister. Many prominent leaders, including Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj, have also been detained by the Delhi Police over their demonstrations and protests.

What have other leaders got to say?

Rahul Gandhi, Former Congress Chief, issued a statement saying, “A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy. While capturing all the institutions including the media, breaking up the parties, extorting money from companies, freezing the account of the main opposition party was not enough for the ‘devilish power’, now the arrest of the elected Chief Ministers has also become a common thing.” As ANI reports, Mr. Gandhi is also meeting Kejriwal’s family to offer any legal assistance possible.

ET Muhammed Basheer MP, General Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League said, “Arvind Kejriwal's recent arrest by the ED is a clear sign of Modi and the NDA's growing insecurity as the elections draw closer. BJP, known for recruiting individuals into the party through central agencies, is now targeting dissenters and imprisoning them.”

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin stated, “This tyranny ignites public fury, unmasking BJP’s true colors. But their futile arrests only fuel our resolve, fortifying the INDIA alliance’s march to victory.” In a similar line of argument, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala's Chief Minister, also stated, “The arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is outright vicious and part of a callous plot to silence all opposition voices just ahead of the general elections. This exposes the cowardice of those who fear the democratic process and calls for collective action to resist the abuse of power.”

Supriya Sule, Working president of NCP, voiced her solidarity with Arvind Kejriwal. She expressed that “this is yet another politically motivated arrest by the ED at the behest of the BJP government to suppress the voice of the opposition and undermine the electorate at large. We are resilient and united in our fight for constitutional democracy.”

Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party’s chief, also affirmed his feeling by saying, “Those who are themselves imprisoned in the fear of defeat, what will ‘they’ do by imprisoning someone else? BJP knows that it will not come to power again, and due to this fear, it wants to remove the opposition leaders from the public by any means at the time of elections, arrest is just an excuse. This arrest will give birth to a new people’s revolution.”

What are some of the actions taken by Kejriwal?

ED is seeking to produce Kejriwal before a special PMLA court to look at the supposed irregularities in the excise policy case. They have also focussed on their complaints that multiple summons were skipped by Kejriwal earlier. As a result of this, Mr. Kejriwal has not been granted interim protection from coercive action, based on the fact that the Delhi CM has refused multiple summons by ED in the past. Kejriwal has called these summons illegal and demanded assurance from ED that no action should be taken against him as long as he complied with the summons.

Kejriwal’s legal team has requested an urgent petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the ED arrest. After a call for an urgent redirection by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, a three-judge bench, consisting of Justice Bela Dwiwedi, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, and Justice MM Sundresh, has been organized to hear the plea. Later, Kejriwal withdrew his petition as Abhishek Manu Singhvi, his lawyer, has said that they will first fight the ED’s demand of remand of Delhi’s CM first, which is pending at the lower Rouse Avenue Court, which means that he can now be produced before the trial court.

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