What Does Interim Bail For Arvind Kejriwal Mean For Hemant Soren, Other Politicians And ED?


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal walked out of Tihar Jail on Friday, hours after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail till June 1.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal walked out of Tihar Jail on Friday, hours after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail till June 1.

The observations of the apex court in case of Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren may push the central agencies to re-strategise their actions in cases where politicians are involved, said senior officers in the ED and CBI

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The Supreme Court’s (SC) interim bail for Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal and hearing for interim bail for Jharkhand’s ex-CM Hemant Soren on May 17 seems to have set a legal precedent for politicians in custody of central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), or in jail in connection with cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) or Indian Penal Code (IPC).

ALSO READ | Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Got Interim Bail From Supreme Court On These Five Conditions

The observations of the apex court may have a significant impact on the legal proceedings and push the central agencies to re-strategise their actions in cases where politicians are involved, said senior officers in the ED and CBI.

Kejriwal is said to have not cooperated with the ED during the custodial interrogation, and he is yet to unlock his phone, News18 has learnt. A division bench of the SC comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta granted interim bail to Kejriwal, asking him to surrender on June 2. The same division bench on Monday heard Soren’s case and asked the ED to submit its position through an affidavit, like it was done in case of Kejriwal.

According to sources, the Enforcement Directorate is likely to include crucial details related to the alleged corruption case, along with relevant information, findings and notes on his efforts to evade summons, tamper evidence, intimidate officers and file cases against them. The affidavit is likely to have a similar explanation of the legal framework as in Kejriwal’s case, added the source.

News18 spoke to senior counsels and officers of the central agencies connected with the cases.

RE-STRATEGISING ACTIONS FOR POLITICIANS?

“The judgment in Kejriwal’s case and the hearing in Hemant Soren’s case are going to have crucial ramifications on future proceedings. There are hundreds of politicians who are either in custody of the central agencies or in jail awaiting trial or going through a trial. They all may be granted bail under the same logic. In fact, we have senior cabinet ministers in judicial custody in connection with similar cases like Kejriwal. We are still trying to analyse and address the court’s order and strategies accordingly,” said a senior ED officer.

“Both the senior politicians — Kejriwal and Soren — evaded 10 summons, which no regular person would do. The summons were called illegal and the arrest was called motivated. We submitted all our findings, evidence and relevant documents before the court. In Jharkhand, cases were registered against the ED officers. Those were not considered as of now. So, as an investigating agency, we need to re-strategise our actions for the sake of investigation,” said another senior officer.

ALSO READ | ‘Need Bail For Campaigning’: Hemant Soren’s Plea Against Arrest Mentions Kejriwal, SC Seeks ED Response

Presenting its case before the court, the ED, in affidavit filed in Kejriwal’s case, had argued, “In a federal structure, no election is more significant than the other. Therefore, every politician, at every level, would argue that if he is not let out on interim bail, he would suffer irreversible consequences. Under the PMLA alone, currently there are many politicians in judicial custody and their cases are examined by competent courts upholding their custody. There must be several political leaders in judicial custody throughout the country in non-PMLA offences. There is no reason why a special prayer for a special treatment by the petitioner should be acceded to.”

“Grant of interim bail merely for political campaigning would militate against and would be discriminatory to the rule of equality as work/business/ profession or activity of every citizen is equally important to him or her. It would not be possible to hold that the work of a small farmer or a small trader is any less important than the political campaigning of a political leader who admittedly is not contesting,” the ED had added in the affidavit which has been accessed by News18.

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