The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a second public interest litigation demanding that Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal be removed as chief minister on the grounds that he is under arrest in the liquor policy case, PTI reported.

The plea was filed by Vishnu Gupta, the president of a Hindutva group called Hindu Sena.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora verbally remarked: “At times, personal interest has to be subordinate to national interest but that is his [Kejriwal's] personal call.”

The court, however, said it could not decide on the matter and that it was up to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena to take a call. Gupta then withdrew his petition.

Kejriwal had been arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate in the liquor policy case. He is presently being held in judicial custody at Tihar Jail in the capital.

On March 28, the court had rejected a similar plea saying that there was no legal provision that barred Kejriwal from holding his office while in jail.

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 Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s liquor excise policy by increasing the commission of wholesalers from 5% to 12%. This allegedly facilitated getting bribes from wholesalers who had a substantial market share and turnover.

The Enforcement Directorate alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party used a portion of the bribes for its Assembly election campaign in Goa in 2022.

The agency alleged that Kejriwal himself engaged with key accused persons and urged them to collaborate with others involved in the case. It claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party chief was the “kingpin” and the “key conspirator” in the case and the material evidence showed he was guilty of money-laundering.