Delhi court cited lack of direct evidence by ED for grant of bail to CM Kejriwal

The court in its order expressed strong reservations about the credibility of the approvers, criticising the ED's tactics.

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While granting bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case on Thursday, a Delhi court's order had cited the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) failure to present direct evidence linking him to the proceeds of crime.

In a turn of events on Friday, the Delhi High Court has stayed the release of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on bail and the hearing in the case is going on today.

In its observations, the trial court noted that the ED admitted the evidence on record was insufficient to proceed against CM Kejriwal, suggesting that the agency was still attempting to procure further evidence.

The court in its order expressed strong reservations about the credibility of the approvers, criticising the ED's tactics.

The court said, “The argument that 'investigation is an art' raises concerns. If taken to its logical extreme, it implies any person could be implicated and detained based on selectively-procured evidence, which indicates bias from the investigating agency."

The judge said that the ED must act "promptly and fairly" to uphold the principles of natural justice.

The court pointed out several issues: 1. Kejriwal was not named in either the CBI case or the ECIR FIR. 2. Allegations against the Delhi CM emerged only after statements from certain co-accused. 3. Despite not being summoned by the court, Kejriwal remained in judicial custody at the ED's behest.

Further, the court found no evidence that co-accused Vijay Nair acted on CM Kejriwal's instructions.

It also questioned the ED's conclusions regarding Vinod Chauhan's connections and the alleged proceeds of crime, including an unclarified sum of Rs 1 crore and an unsubstantiated amount of Rs 40 crore.

Quoting the legal maxim, "Justice should not only be done but seen to be done," Judge Bindu stated the importance of perceived fairness in judicial proceedings.

The judge stated, “If an accused endures systemic injustices until proven innocent, the sense of justice being served is lost."

Based on the prima facie assessment that CM Kejriwal's guilt remains unproven, the court had granted him bail on Thursday.

Input by IANS