Setback to Kejriwal

| | New Delhi
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Setback to Kejriwal

Saturday, 16 March 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

A  City  Court on Friday refused to stay the summons issued to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the magistrate court on the complaints filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly disobeying the summons issued by the agency in the Delhi liquor excise policy case.  It is yet to be seen whether Kejriwal will appear before the  court on Saturday.

Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Syal directed Kejriwal to approach the metropolitan magistrate for exemption from personal appearance in the matter. “The application seeking stay on summons has been dismissed …. He can move an application seeking exemption before the trial court”, said special Judge Rakesh Syal.

Kejriwal had approached the sessions court challenging the orders passed by additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra summoning him to appear before the court in person on March 16. Kejriwal has till date skipped eight summonses issued by the agency.

The Enforcement Directorate has filed two complaints before the magisterial court seeking Kejriwal's prosecution for skipping multiple summonses issued to him in the case. The latest complaint pertains to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor not honouring summonses no. 4 to 8 sent by the federal probe agency under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED said.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta and advocate Rajiv Mohan, appearing for Kejriwal, submitted before the court that the summons were not issued to him in the personal capacity, but in official capacity as chief minister as they were sent on his official email ID and to his official address.

They further averred that he had responded to the summons issued to him, pointing out that he was not able to appear due to official exigency, therefore he had not skipped the summons wilfully.

However, his reply to the summons were neither considered by the agency nor by the magistrate. It was also submitted by the lawyers that the court did not apply its judicial mind as it had not initiated any inquiry under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) into the complaints and took the complaint as gospel truth.

Section 202 of the CrPC grants power to the court that it may conduct an inquiry, if it thinks fit, to ensure that there are sufficient grounds to issue summons while taking cognisance of a complaint.

“The court is believing the version of the complainant despite the fact that you have the power under 202 CrPC to conduct an independent inquiry….You have not conducted the inquiry and took the averments of complainant as gospel truth”, they added. Additional solicitor general (ASG) S. V. Raju, appearing for ED, argued that this is not the stage to test whether Kejriwal had disobeyed the summons intentionally or not, that is to be decided in the trial.

He further submitted that a prima facie case of wilful disobedience is made out as Kejriwal has given excuses for not appearing before the agency and asked whether he was being called as a witness or an accused in the case trying to get information about the investigation.

“He has been asking in what capacity is he being summoned….He wants to know the details of the investigation, we cannot divulge these information at this stage”, Raju argued.

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