Arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, an act of political vendetta: PUCL


  • March 22, 2024
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It is no coincidence that 95% of the political leaders targeted by the ED under the Modi government are from the opposition.

 

Groundxero | March 22, 2024

 

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has condemned the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) calling it an example of politically motivated action against the opposition governments and parties to intimidate and suppress them.

 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the night of 21st March, 2024 (Thursday) from his official residence in a case pertaining to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s liquor related excise policy for 2021-22, which was later scrapped. The arrest, the first of a sitting Chief Minister, came within hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant protection to Arvind Kejriwal from any coercive action by the central agency.

 

Kejriwal was produced at the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi on Friday. Special Judge Kaveri Baweja sent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to the ED’s custody till March 28. AAP leader and former Dy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia arrested on 26th February, 2023, and Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha Member and spokesperson of AAp, arrested directly without any summons on 4th October, 2023, are already in judicial custody in the same case.

 

The PUCL in a statement said that it is clear for all to see, with the increasing trend of raiding, summoning, questioning and arresting opposition party leaders and political opponents, using ED, CBI and other agencies of the government, that the arrest of Chief Minister Hemant Soren or Arvind Kejriwal, has nothing to do with corruption.

 

“Since past few years the entire country is witness to the ED being used as a handmaiden of the central political executive in an effort to crust the democratic opposition” PUCL said in the statement by. PUCL further pointed out that while corruption in public life is well known across political parties, the selective use and misuse of ED to browbeat the opposition seems to be one of the final nails in the coffin for democracy. “It is no coincidence that 95% of the political leaders targeted by the ED under the Modi government are from the opposition,” said PUCL.

 

PUCL statement condemning the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi by the ED

22nd March 2024

 

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out in the night of 21st March, 2024 from his residence. He was the third leader of his party arrested by the ED, under PMLA, for allegedly having received Rs. 100 crore kickbacks in the Delhi excise policy case, with Former Dy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia having been arrested 13 months ago on February, 26th 2023, Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha Member and spokesperson, arrested directly without any summons on 4th October, 2023.

 

The arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is clearly to weaken the Aam Aadmi Party on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, just as all senior leaders and strategist of the party have been silenced and forced out of any form of public action.

 

Arvind Kejriwal is not the first sitting Chief Minister who was arrested. Earlier, on January, 31st January, 2024, Hemant Soren, was also arrested under sections of PMLA after raids and repeated summoning. It is clear for all to see, with the increasing trend of raiding, summoning, questioning and arresting opposition party leaders and political opponents, using ED, CBI and other agencies of the government, that the arrest of Chief Minister Hemant Soren or Arvind Kejriwal, who decided to ignore 9 summons by the ED by calling them illegal, has nothing to do with corruption.

 

Like with Arvind Kejriwal, Hemant Soren’s arrest was also seen as a move to destabilize the democratically elected government of Jharkhand with a clear majority. Tribal Groups called it is an attack and insult to the public sentiment of Jharkhand. Hemant Soren was the only tribal Chief Minister outside the northeastern states and has been fighting for the rights of the adivasis and the essence of Jharkhand.

 

The PUCL believes that these arrests are politically motivated action against the opposition governments and parties to intimidate and suppress them. Since past few years the entire country is witness to the ED being used as a handmaiden of the central political executive in an effort to crust the democratic opposition. The law used for the purpose is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as amended, which gives wide ranging powers to the ED with extremely onerous bail conditions. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court in the case of Vijay Chaudhri has given its stamp of approval to the draconian provisions of the law.

 

It is no coincidence that 95% of the political leaders targeted by the ED under the Modi government are from the opposition. We have been witness to a large number of cases where ED raids opposition party members, arrests or threatens to arrest them, attaches their properties and the moment these individuals switch their support, ED backs out and all the so-called sins are whitewashed. The terror of ED is so widespread that even without any case being filed, mere apprehension of ED raids and arrests have led to politicians switching sides and supporting the central ruling establishment. While corruption in public life is well known across political parties, its selective use and misuse to browbeat the opposition seems to be one of the final nails in the coffin for democracy. Democracy cannot survive without a level playing field with the civil society, political opposition and independent statutory and constitutional institutions holding the ruling dispensation accountable.

 

The recent appointment of election commissions is only one example of how these institutions are being hollowed out. Civil Society is constantly under attack through the misuse of FCRA provisions and UAPA. The political opposition is sought to be crushed through various means including income tax raids and threats from ED. The recent disclosure by the State Bank of India strongly suggests that threat of ED is used to extort money.

 

In this context and with the impending elections, the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal seems to be nothing else but an act of political vendetta.

 

PUCL once again condemns the arrest of Mr. Kejriwal and demands that he should be immediately released on bail and allowed to fully participate in the coming elections. Similarly, former CM Hemant Soren should also be released on bail.

 

 

Kavita Srivastava                                                                             V. Suresh

(President)                                                                                         (General Secretary)

9351562965                                                                                     9444231497

kavisriv@gmail.com                                                           pucl.natgensec@gmail.com

 

 

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