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Setback for Kejriwal as Delhi court refuses to stay summons issued on ED complaint

New Delhi, March 15: A sessions court on Friday refused to grant a stay on the summons issued to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by a magisterial court based on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) complaint.

The ED had filed a complaint alleging that CM Kejriwal did not comply with its summons in connection with a money laundering case related to the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy.

Special Judge Rakesh Syal of the Rouse Avenue Court said that the Chief Minister can move the appropriate application before the magisterial court itself.

“For exemption, you can move the trial court,” the judge said.

CM Kejriwal has filed two revision petitions against Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Divya Malhotra’s orders issuing summons to him on the ED’s complaint.

On March 7, the ACMM issued a second summons and listed the matter for hearing on March 16, when she will hear the ED’s first complaint on the same matter.

Kejriwal’s revision petitions against the impugned orders are now listed for March 30.

On Thursday, Special Judge Rakesh Syal of the Rouse Avenue Court heard the arguments at length by both parties in one of the revision petitions.

On Friday, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta and advocate Rajiv Mohan appeared on CM Kejriwal’s behalf and argued on the second revision petition, saying that it was not as if Kejriwal had skipped any summons issued to him on account of personal reasons.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG), S.V. Raju, appeared for the federal agency.

Since CM Kejriwal has to appear before the magisterial court on Saturday, advocate Gupta had urged the court for “exemption of petitioner (CM Kejriwal) through a lawyer or a stay or the court may be asked to adjourn the matter to the date which the sessions court fixes”.

He added, “The summoning order is revisable. Maybe this court only exempts me from appearance. It is a summoning trial case. The maximum punishment is one month or fine or both.”

On the other hand, ASG Raju said: “The modus operandi was to move the court at the last minute, put pressure on the court and say tomorrow I’ve to appear, grant me stay otherwise the heavens are going to fall. The heavens didn’t fall for so many days.”

The ACMM had on February 17 granted a day’s exemption from physical appearance to the Chief Minister in connection with the first complaint filed by the ED on the same issue. The second complaint pertains to “CM Kejriwal not abiding by the summons No. 4 to 8”, a source said.

The AAP Convenor had earlier requested the financial probe agency for a date after March 12 for questioning in the excise policy matter. His response came after the ED issued summons to him for the eighth time on February 27, and asked him to appear before it on March 4.

ACMM Malhotra had taken cognisance of the first complaint on February 7. The judge had said, “Summons are being issued to him to appear on February 17.”

The ED, on January 31, issued summons to CM Kejriwal for the fifth time, and he was told to appear before it on February 2. The financial probe agency’s complaint alleged that the Chief Minister intentionally did not want to obey the summons and kept on making “lame excuses”.

“If a high-ranking public functionary like him disobeys the law, it would set a wrong example for the common man,” the agency had said.

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