Several Aam Aadmi Party leaders including Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti and Chandigarh Mayor Kuldeep Kumar Tita were detained by the Delhi Police on Tuesday for protesting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, The Indian Express reported.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested the Delhi chief minister in connection with the liquor excise policy case on Thursday. On Friday, the Rouse Avenue Court remanded Kejriwal to the central law enforcement agency’s custody till March 28.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party had called for a gherao of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home causing the Delhi police, which reports to the Union home ministry, to beef up security measures in the national capital.

The Delhi Police asked protestors outside the Patel Chowk metro station in central Delhi to disperse, saying that prohibitory orders had been imposed and that no permission had been granted for protests, reported ANI. The police asked the Aam Aadmi Party workers and leaders to clear the area within five minutes.

Opposition parties organised under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or the INDIA bloc, will hold a joint rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on March 31 to protest against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The coalition has accused the BJP of misusing central investigating agencies to arrest Opposition leaders in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. Besides Kejriwal, the central agency last year arrested former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in connection with the same case.

The BJP, meanwhile, has demanded Kejriwal’s resignation.

“Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is in jail,” BJP leader and MP Dr Harsh Vardhan told PTI. “Therefore, he should resign morally and give his responsibility to someone else. Arvind Kejriwal still holding his position shows that he is greedy and does not want to leave his chair because of his insecurity.”

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari told the news agency that one can run a gang from jail but not a government.

However, the Delhi government on Tuesday announced that its public services, social welfare schemes and subsidies will not be affected by the chief minister’s arrest, reported ANI.

A press note issued by the planning department said that rumours were being spread by “notorious elements with vested interest” regarding the delivery of schemes and subsidies.

What is the liquor policy case?

The Enforcement Directorate’s case is based on a first information report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation alleging irregularities in the Delhi government’s now-scrapped liquor excise policy.

The policy came into effect in November 2021. It was withdrawn on July 30, 2022, with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the policy.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s liquor excise policy to ensure a 12% profit margin for wholesalers and a nearly 185% profit margin for retailers.

The Enforcement Directorate has also claimed that members of a “South Group” had paid at least Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party through businessman Vijay Nair, who is currently in jail.

Hours before Kejriwal’s arrest on Thursday, electoral bond data released by the Election Commission showed a company linked to another person accused in the same case, P Sarath Chandra Reddy, had donated Rs 5 crore to the BJP in 2022, just five days after he was taken in custody. Another Rs 25 crore was donated to the BJP after Reddy turned approver in the case.

Also read: