Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Merely because Kejriwal wants to run govt from jail, he can’t be given spl privileges: ED to court


New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday opposed the plea moved by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal before a city court for more time with his lawyer, saying special privileges cannot be extended to him merely because he wants to run the government from inside the jail.

The ED made its submissions before the special judge for CBI and ED cases Kaveri Baweja, who reserved the order on Kejriwal’s plea for Monday.

Kejriwal’s counsel told the judge that multiple cases were pending against the politician and that one hour a week was insufficient for a person to understand and give instructions.

“This is the most basic legal right that I am asking to meet my advocate. Sanjay Singh was granted three meetings when he had only five or eight cases,” the counsel said.

The ED opposed Kejriwal’s prayer for five meetings with his lawyer every week, saying it was was against the jail manual.

The central probe agency told the court that Kejriwal was already allowed to have two meetings with his lawyers instead of one which is the general practice.

“When a person is in jail his stature outside is irrelevant and he is treated equally (like other prisoners). They have already been allowed two meetings in a week. One of the consequences of JC (judicial custody) is that your exposure to the outside world is limited and in accordance with law.

“Merely because someone chooses to run the government from the prison he cannot be treated as an exception and cannot be granted the privilege,” the ED’s counsel told the judge.

He alleged that legal interviews were being misused by Kejriwal for purposes other than consultation.

Kejriwal has issued some instructions on matters related to governance from behind bars. His Aam Aadmi Party has asserted he will run the government from jail.

“If you are under valid judicial custody, certain rights are curtailed. You don’t have absolute rights… they are curtailed in accordance with the jail manuals,” the ED said.

The ED’s submissions were opposed by the defence counsel.

“People are unequally treated and you have to balance them. Here is a person who has 30 cases going on against him…. Can I be equated with someone who has one case against them?” Kejriwal’s counsel said.

Kejriwal had moved the application claiming that two meetings every week with his lawyer, as permitted by the court, was not sufficient since he was facing multiple cases in various states and needed more time for consultation.

The court had on April 1 sent Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15 in the money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam.

The ED has accused the AAP leader of being involved in the “entire conspiracy of Delhi liquor scam, in drafting and implementation of the policy, for favouring and benefiting from the quid pro, receiving kickbacks and eventually using part of proceeds of crime generated out of the scheduled offence in the campaign for Goa Assembly elections”.


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