Delhi HC Seeks ED's Reply On Maintainability Of CM Kejriwal's Plea Against Summonses - Eastern Mirror
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Delhi HC seeks ED’s reply on maintainability of CM Kejriwal’s plea against summonses

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By IANS Updated: Mar 20, 2024 1:20 pm

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the ED to reply on maintainability of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging the agency’s nine summonses issued to him in connection with a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped excise policy.

A Division Bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain, has now put up the matter for hearing on April 22.

The Bench has asked the federal agency to file its reply in two weeks’ time and granted CM Kejriwal one week to file a rejoinder. Additional Solicitor General (ASG), SV Raju, appearing for the ED, argued that the AAP National Convenor’s petition is not maintainable, seeking additional time to file a detailed response on the issue.

However, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for CM Kejriwal and contended that one of the issues raised in the plea was whether a political party is covered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the same is not defined under the enactment.

The court asked Senior Advocate Singhvi as to why CM Kejriwal doesn’t appear in response to the summons.

In response, the counsel said that he is not running away and will appear, provided he is granted protection and a “no coercive steps” order in his favour.

Addressing Singhvi’s concerns, the court noted that traditionally, the ED does not resort to arrests immediately, allowing individuals to present their case.

Singhvi then cited the arrests of fellow AAP leaders, Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, citing the urgency and seriousness of CM Kejriwal’s request for protection.

CM Kejriwal’s plea also seeks to declare Section (2) (s) of PMLA as unconstitutional and arbitrary insofar that it is construed to include a political party within its ambit and sweep.

 “The ED cannot proceed on an assumption that a ‘political party’ would be covered under the expression ‘artificial juridical person’ occurring in Section 2(1)(s) in PMLA and, therefore, the issuance of summons in terms of Section 50 thereof to the office bearers of political party are non-est, blatantly illegal, arbitrary and cannot sustain the test of law or reasonableness,” the plea states.

In its ninth summons, the ED had asked CM Kejriwal to appear on March 21. On March 16, a magisterial court granted bail to CM Kejriwal in complaints filed by the ED over non-compliance with the agency’s summons to him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Divya Malhotra, of Rouse Avenue Court granted the CM relief on a bail bond of Rs 15,000 and a surety of Rs 1 lakh.

On February 27, the ED issued the eighth summons, to appear before it on March 4, to Kejriwal after he skipped the seventh summons issued on February 22.

On February 19, Kejriwal skipped the ED’s sixth summons in connection with the alleged excise policy scam.

The ED on January 31, had issued its fifth summons to Kejriwal, telling him to appear before it on February 2. It had summoned him for the fourth time on January 13, asking him to appear before it on January 18.

Meanwhile, AAP leader and Delhi Cabinet Minister Atishi on Tuesday said the ED has become a political weapon of the BJP and is now making false allegations against Opposition parties.

“Such accusations, which have been dismissed by the Supreme Court due to lack of evidence, are being levelled against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to arrest him,” she alleged.

6091
By IANS Updated: Mar 20, 2024 1:20:20 pm
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