Can Arvind Kejriwal be granted interim bail under PMLA? Supreme Court likely to decide on Friday

The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it may finally pass the verdict on whether or not to grant interim bail to jailed Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal, who was arrested in a money laundering case registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Delhi liquor policy case.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna revealed this during the open court today.

Justice Dipankar Datta, along with Justice Khanna, had on Tuesday heard Kejriwal's petition challenging his arrest and remand by ED.

Justice Khanna was sitting as part of another Bench on Wednesday when he told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, appearing for ED, that the interim order in the Kejriwal case can be expected on May 10.

On Tuesday, the top court of the country said that even if it granted interim bail to Kejriwal, he would not be able to function as the Chief Minister as it will have a ‘cascading effect’ on other issues.

The Apex Court noted that it was on the issue of propriety today, not on legality, adding that it did not want anything to affect the functioning of the government.

Kejriwal’s counsel submitted that he could not be fettered by saying that he would not perform his constitutional role as Chief Minister.

The Counsel assured that Kejriwal will not sign on anything related to the Excise policy.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed Kejriwal’s interim bail plea on the grounds that it would ‘demoralise’ the common man and that “campaigning was a luxury”.

The ED also flagged that Kejriwal had evaded the its summons in the excise policy case on nine occasions. It added that allegations showed his ‘involvement’.

The Counsel appearing for the national agency further submitted that the bail application must be before a trial court and not before the Supreme Court.

The Bench noted that it has given interim bail even in cases involving ‘heinous’ crimes. It expressed concerns over the delay in the probe into the case, and demanded that the agency present the case files that led to the arrest of the AAP leader.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

ED had arrested Kejriwal on allegations of being actively involved in the now-scrapped excise policy of 2021-22, which was aimed to benefit certain liquor sellers.

As per the allegations cast by the federal agency, the inducement received by the scam were used as a funding the election campaigns in Goa by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The Delhi CM is not the sole accused in the case, as the former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, AAP Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha were all partners in the game.

Sanjay Singh was granted bail, however Sisodia and Kavitha remain in jail.

It is pertinent to note that later today, Kejriwal is due to be produced before a Delhi trial to consider if his remand should be extended.

.In the last hearing before the Apex Court,it was said that the court may consider whether Kejriwal should be released in interim bail since the Lok Sabha Elections.

The Bench comprising of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta during the last meeting said that they would like to hear the hear arguments for interim bail as the final relief would take some time.