The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a petition filed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest in connection with the liquor excise policy case, The Hindu reported.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 20. On Monday, a court sent him to judicial custody until April 15, after the central agency did not seek his further remand.

During the hearing on Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate told the High Court that Kejriwal cannot cite the upcoming Lok Sabha elections or his position as chief minister to claim any special exceptions, reported Bar and Bench.

"Take a case of terrorist who is also a politician,” said Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the agency. “He blows up army vehicle and says I want to contest elections so you cannot touch me? What kind of argument is this?”

Appearing for Kejriwal, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi contested the comparison drawn by Raju.

“My point is if a man, a chief minister blows up an army vehicle he should be arrested,” said Singhvi. “But is that a fair analogy?”

He also told the court that the ulterior motive of the case was to disintegrate the Aam Aadmi Party before the Lok Sabha elections.

“It [the case] has three components: free and fair elections, which is in turn part of democracy, which is in turn part of the basic structure,” said Singhvi. “This case reeks of timing issues which ensures that Kejriwal is unable to participate in democratic activity.”

On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate told the High Court that Kejriwal was the “kingpin” and the “key conspirator” in the case and the material evidence showed he was guilty of money laundering.

The agency made the submissions in an affidavit in the High Court in response to the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s petition.

“The Aam Aadmi Party is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi liquor scam,” the central law enforcement agency told the court, adding that the chief minister was also involved in the decision-making process of the policy “as is evident from the statements of the witnesses”.

The agency also alleged that Kejriwal intentionally disregarded the nine summons it had issued to him for questioning in connection with the case, reported ANI.

What is the Delhi 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 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 March 20, electoral bond data released by the Election Commission had shown 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.