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Alleged “Kattar Imaandaar” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal arrested by ED in Delhi Excise Scam Case

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In an interesting turn of events, the so called “Kattar Imaandaar” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested on Thursday by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the liquor probe. Kejriwal becomes the second sitting chief minister to be arrested in recent times after Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren was arrested.

Earlier the Delhi High Court had rejected a plea seeking protection for the Delhi CM from coercive action in the excise policy-linked money laundering case.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal becomes the first sitting chief minister to have been arrested.

While Kavitha’s arrest dropped hints that Kejriwal would be ED’s next target, a high court order on Thursday made it easier as the court denied to grant any protection to Kejriwal from any coercive action of the agency. Hours after the high court verdict, ED officials swooped in at Kejriwal’s Civil Lines residence with a search warrant. After a few hours, Kejriwal was taken into custody.

Following this the Enforcement Directorate began conducting searches at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on Civil Lines. The Delhi Chief Minister had till now skipped nearly nine ED summons issued to him in the money laundering case.

The ED officials reached AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi residence to serve him a summons in the case. According to reports, the ED officials also informed Kejriwal’s staff at the CM’s residence that they have a search warrant.

While Hemant Soren made way for Champai Soren to take the mantle of the government, the AAP leadership on Thursday said Kejriwal will remain the chief minister and the national capital will be ruled from jail. Kejriwal’s arrest comes a week after another big-ticket arrest in connection with the liquor probe. BRS leader K Kavitha was arrested from Hyderabad last week and was brought to New Delhi.

Arrested Delhi CM Kejriwal will be produced before special PMLA court on Friday. The ED will seek his custody for interrogation, says officials.

The investigative agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED), is investigating allegations that a liquor policy implemented by the Delhi government in 2022, which ended its control over sale of liquor in the capital, gave undue advantages to private retailers. The policy was subsequently withdrawn.

The case pertains to the liquor policy which was scrapped after allegations of corruption. Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh were arrested earlier in connection with the same case.

Kejriwal was summoned by the ED to join the probe sine last year but citing various engagements Kejriwal skipped all the summons so far. Kejriwal moved the court and challenged the ED summons calling them unconstitutional. A major blow came to Kejriwal after the court on Thursday said it has no intention to get into the case at this stage.

The ED in a press note had called Mr Kejriwal a “conspirator” in the case.

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha allegedly conspired with Mr Kejriwal, and AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh while framing the now-scrapped liquor policy case, the ED has said.

The alleged conspiracy involved making a policy that would benefit a liquor lobby from southern India, which the ED had called the “South Lobby”.

In return, the “South Lobby” would give ₹ 100 crore to the AAP, according to the ED.

Mr Kejriwal’s name had appeared in the statements of some accused and witnesses. The ED has mentioned this in its remand note and chargesheets.

AAP calls it huge conspiracy

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that there was a “huge conspiracy” behind Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and accused the BJP of stooping to any level to make him bow down.

Delhi Cabinet minister Atishi said Arvind Kejriwal will continue as the chief minister and run Delhi government from prison if needed after his arrest by the ED in an excise policy-linked money laundering case.

She also said that the Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court against the action by the federal agency.

“He will continue as the chief minister of Delhi. If need be, he will run the government from jail. There is no rule that stops him from running the government from jail,” Atishi told reporters in national capital Delhi.

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