Delhi HC stays CM Kejriwal’s bail order, cites lack of satisfaction on PMLA conditions

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Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s bail order passed by the trial court, saying that the lower court should have at least recorded its satisfaction with the fulfilment of twin conditions of Section 45 of Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before passing the impugned order.

The bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain, in the order, stated, “The court ought to maintain a delicate balance between a judgment of acquittal and conviction and order granting bail much before commencement of trial. The court is not supposed to weigh the evidence meticulously. However, the vacation judge, in the impugned order, has not discussed the requirement of Section 45 of PMLA while passing the impugned order. The trial court should have at least recorded its satisfaction with the fulfilment of the twin conditions of section 45 of PMLA before passing the impugned order.”

“The perusal of the impugned order reflects that the vacation judge has passed the impugned order without going through and appreciating the entire material brought on record by the rival parties which reflects perversity in Impugned Order”, observed Delhi HC while dealing with the arguments made by ED counsel, stating that impugned order passed by trial judge has observed that it is not possible to go through thousands of pages of documents filed by the respective parties, but the court must work upon the matter whichever comes for consideration and passed the order per law.

On Tuesday, the Delhi HC stayed the trial court order granting bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while allowing the Directorate of Enforcement’s (ED) plea seeking a stay on the Trial Court order in the excise policy money laundering case. The vacation bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain, while passing the order, said that documents and arguments were not appreciated properly by the trial court. “This court is of the view that the trial court has not applied its mind and has not considered the material properly”, the bench said.

The bench had reserved the order on June 21 after the agency challenged the trial court’s decision, which has been put on hold until the ruling. Meanwhile, the Court has already fixed the main matter for July, where ED challenged the trial court order granting Arvind Kejriwal regular bail in the case.

On Monday, ED filed written submissions before the Delhi High Court opposing any relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Excise Policy money laundering case. The ED opposed the trial court order granting bail to Kejriwal and called the order illegal and perverse.

The agency submitted that the impugned order passed by the trial court deserves to be stayed and set aside as a vacation judge has returned perverse findings in almost every paragraph of its order on both the facts and the law after admittedly not examining the material placed on record by the prosecution. The ED further stated that new material collected against Arvind Kejriwal post-2023 was not considered by the vacation judge.

The ED listed statements of 13 Angariyas, Goa AAP workers, and AAP office bearers. Denial of ample opportunity to the Enforcement Directorate is a violation of one of the conditions of Section 45, ED told the Delhi HC.

The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned for June 26 the plea of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging the order of the Delhi High Court granting an interim stay on bail to him in the Delhi excise policy case probed by the ED. A vacation bench of Justices Manoj Misra and S V N Bhatti observed that the decision of the High Court to grant an interim stay on Kejriwal’s bail without passing a final order in the matter was “unusual”.

“In stay matters, judgments are not reserved but passed on the spot. What has happened here is unusual. We will have it (case before it) the day after,” the bench said.

On June 21, the High Court ordered the grant of an interim stay on bail while reserving its order and asked both sides to file their written submissions by Monday. Kejriwal then filed an appeal in the top court against the High Court order. The apex court then said that it would be appropriate to wait for the final order, which is to be pronounced by the High Court in a day or two.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, questions the High Court order granting a stay on bail on the first day of the hearing. He submitted that the procedure of staying on bail on the first day is unprecedented.

“Suppose the High Court dismisses ED’s appeal; how does the judge compensate for the time he (Kejriwal) lost?” Singhvi asked. Singhvi argued that at 10.30 am on June 21, the order of the High Court was passed without any reason, and arguments were heard after it stayed the order of bail. The senior counsel further said that there are several Supreme Court judgements that hold that bail, once granted, cannot be stayed without special reasons.

As Singhvi requested the bench pass an order on the plea, the apex court said, “If it passes an order now, it will be pre-judging the issue. It is not a subordinate court; it is a high court”.

Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary, also appearing for Kejriwal, told the top court that Kejriwal does not have any criminal antecedents and is not a flight risk.

On June 20, the trial judge granted bail to Kejriwal in the money laundering case. The next day, the ED moved an urgent petition before the High Court challenging the bail order. The High Court heard both sides extensively reserve orders on the ED’s application to stay the bail order and halted the release of Kejriwal until the pronouncement of its order. (ANI)

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