The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to grant interim relief to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor excise policy case, reported Live Law.

The court has asked the Enforcement Directorate to file its response to Kejriwal's petition by April 2. The next hearing in the matter will take place on April 3.

The Enforcement Directorate arrested the Aam Aadmi Party chief on March 21 in connection with the case ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

This came after Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that Kejriwal had not given the central law enforcement agency a copy of his petition, Live Law reported. Raju said that the agency needed more time to file a reply.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, told the court that the chief minister's challenge was to remand itself, which is supposed to end on March 28. He argued that the matter did not need any replies from the agency, Live Law reported.

On March 22, a Delhi court sent Kejriwal to the central law enforcement agency’s custody until March 28.

A day later, the Delhi High Court had denied urgent listing of Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest and custody by the Enforcement Directorate.

On Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party complained to Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena about Kejriwal issuing directions while in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody. Kejriwal is the first sitting chief minister to have been arrested.

The saffron party claimed that this amounted to “unauthorised use of power and authority” by Kejriwal, The Indian Express reported.

Since his arrest, Kejriwal has issued two directions to Delhi water minister Atishi and health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj to address complaints regarding water and sewerage issues and to ensure the availability of medicines in state-run mohalla clinics.

The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the BJP “does not want Kejriwal to serve the people of Delhi”.

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 It was withdrawn on July 30, 2022, with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommending an investigation into the alleged irregularities of the policy.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

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