The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had destroyed evidence of money laundering in connection with the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy, reported Bar and Bench.

The Enforcement Directorate claimed that 170 mobile phones were either changed or destroyed by 36 persons involved in the alleged scam in an attempt to erase digital evidence.

In an affidavit countering the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s plea challenging his arrest, the Enforcement Directorate also said that Kejriwal was directly involved in the formulation of the liquor policy, and was therefore “directly and indirectly” tied to the proceeds of crime that stemmed from it.

The agency clarified that by “proceeds of crime”, it was not only referring to the Rs 100 crore allegedly paid to the Aam Aadmi Party in bribes by a so-called South Group for liquor licences, but also to the 12% profit that licence holders were able to accrue as a result of the liquor policy.

“The crucial digital evidences of the scam and money trail have been actively destroyed by [Kejriwal] and other persons involved,” the agency’s affidavit said. “Despite such active and criminal destruction of evidence, the agency has been able to recover key evidences which directly reveals the of the petitioner in process and activities relating to proceeds of crime.”

The agency also rejected Kejriwal’s allegation that his arrest is meant to prevent him from campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections.

“A differential treatment in favour of a politician who is guilty of the offence of money laundering would violate ‘rule of law’ which would be a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the Enforcement Directorate said.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in the liquor policy case. He was sent to Delhi’s Tihar jail on April 1.

“The arrest of a person, however high he may be, for commission of offence based on material, can never violate the concept of free and fair elections,” the Enforcement Directorate noted. “If the aforesaid argument is accepted, politicians who are criminals would be granted immunity from arrest on the ground that he is required to canvas in the election.”

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating allegations of money laundering in the liquor policy case based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The two central agencies have alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government modified Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor excise policy by increasing the commission of wholesalers from 5% to 12%. This allegedly facilitated the receipt of bribes from wholesalers who had a substantial market share and turnover.