Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File).

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – in jail on corruption charges in the alleged liquor policy scam – has been sent to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate for a further four days, i.e., till April 1.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested earlier this month, after the Delhi High Court refused to intervene. Hours later ED officials raided the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s residence and took him into custody. He moved the Supreme Court for relief but quickly withdrew the plea; his legal team argued that precedent was against the Delhi Chief Minister. Mr Kejriwal was then sent to ED custody for a week.

That period of custody expired today.

Mr Kejriwal, meanwhile, has also moved the Delhi High Court against his arrest, arguing that the manner in which the probe agency acted violated his fundamental rights. The court declined to act immediately and instead issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate, seeking a reply by April 2.

READ | No Immediate Relief From High Court, Kejriwal To Stay In Custody

The Delhi High Court hearing will resume April 3.

The court has also dismissed a public interest litigation, or PIL, seeking Mr Kejriwal’s removal from the post of Chief Minister, citing his arrest. A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan refused to comment on the merits of the issue, saying that it fell outside the scope of judicial interference.

Earlier today Mr Kejriwal was given permission to address the court directly. He made a brief but impassioned speech in which he accused the probe agency of trying “to crush” his party.

He pointed out – as the AAP has since his arrest – that no part of the alleged Rs 100 crore in bribes had been recovered. He also said no court had found him guilty.

READ | “ED’s 2 Missions: Finish AAP And…”: Arvind Kejriwal In Court

“I was arrested… but no court has proved me guilty. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has filed 31,000 pages (of chargesheets) and ED filed 25,000 pages. Even if you read them together… the question remains… why have I been arrested?” Mr Kejriwal asked the court.

What Is Delhi Liquor Policy Scam?

The Enforcement Directorate believes the now-scrapped liquor policy provided an impossibly high profit margin of 185 per cent for retailers and 12 per cent for wholesalers. Of the latter, six per cent – over Rs 600 crore – were bribes and the money was allegedly used to fund the AAP’s poll campaigns.

The ED has labelled the Chief Minister as a key conspirator in this case, but Mr Kejriwal and party colleagues arrested in this matter – ex-Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, and former Health Minister Satyendar Jain – have all denied the charges.

NDTV Explains | Why Did The Enforcement Directorate Arrest Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP and the opposition have hit out at the BJP-led central government for using central agencies, like the ED, to target rivals and critics before the general election. The AAP has criticised Mr Kejriwal’s arrest on grounds it was timed to interfere with his plans to campaign for the party.

The BJP has dismissed claims it uses central agencies as described by the opposition.

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