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CM in jail for a week, Delhi govt comes to standstill

After ED described Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as the kingpin of the Delhi excise policy scam, the Rouse Avenue Court on Friday granted the probe agency his remand till March 28 even as decision-making in Delhi Secretariat came to a virtual standstill amid speculation over the future of the head-less government. While a figure […]

ED to produce Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal before court
ED to produce Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal before court

After ED described Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as the kingpin of the Delhi excise policy scam, the Rouse Avenue Court on Friday granted the probe agency his remand till March 28 even as decision-making in Delhi Secretariat came to a virtual standstill amid speculation over the future of the head-less government.

While a figure of Rs 200 crore, paid in two instalment, as bribe to CM and AAP was quoted in ED’s documents in the case, there were also allegations that the investigators seized a 150-page document from Kejriwal’s house that carried personal details, including assets, of the chief ED officer heading the probe against Kejriwal. Sources said there was a possibility that a separate case of snooping on the ED officer may also be filed against the CM and his aides.

Before entering the Ed court complex, Kejriwal told reporters, “My life is dedicated to the country whether I am inside or outside the prison.”

A political and judicial war broke out a day after Kejriwal was taken into custody with AAP protesters taking to streets in Kurukshetra, Jaipur, Nagpur and Ahmedabad, among other cities in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. AAP leader and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann described Kejriwal’s arrest as “undeclared Emergency”. The AAP also announced its plan to gherao the PM’s residence on March 26.

Earlier, the ED shared details of statements of 16 accused out of the 32 accused in the case and the sections under which CM has been arrested. The ED’s remand application also pointed out that the bribe paid by the south liquor mafia was paid to party’s Goa candidates through four routes, including Rs 45 crore through hawala. It also mentioned that the south liquor policy gained Rs 600 crore from the excise policy tweak done by Kejriwal.

Meanwhile, there was nervousness and anxiety in the corridors of CMO in Delhi Secretariat as there was uncertainty over Kejriwal’s return to office. Sources said Raj Niwas was maintaining a close watch on the developments and if Kejriwal’s decision not to resign or attempt to run the government from jail or not to name his successor in CMO disrupts governance then the L-G may step in and put in place a new governance mechanism sans CM.

“I am very upset that Arvind Kejriwal, who used to work with me, raise his voice against liquor, is now making liquor policies. His arrest is because of his own deeds,” Hazare said.
Atishi Marlena, Delhi minister and senior AAP leader, said Kejriwal’s arrest was part of a larger political conspiracy. AAP leaders said family members of Kejriwal have bee put under house arrest.

North-East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari countered that Kejriwal’s plan to run a government from jail was impractical. “Jails are used to run gangs and not governments. Is Kejriwal heading a gang or a government?” he said.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED in the excise policy case on Thursday after the Delhi High Court refused interim protection to him from coercive action in connection with the excise policy case.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi excise policy case 2022, which was later scrapped.

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