Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will have to spend more time in jail, as the Delhi High Court, on Friday, gave interim stay on a lower court verdict setting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor free in the Delhi liquor policy money laundering case.

Delhi High Court Judge Sudhir Kumar Jain also issued notice to Kejriwal, seeking his response to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) plea challenging the trial court’s Thursday order granting regular bail to him.

“Till the pronouncement of this order, the operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed,” a vacation bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said. Justice Jain stated he was reserving the order for 2-3 days to go through entire records before pronouncing verdict on it.

On Thursday, Nyay Bindu, a Special Judge of a Vacation Judge, Rouse Avenue District Courts, granted bail to Kejriwal on furnishing a bail bond of ₹1 lakh as she was of the view that the agency could not place direct evidence against Delhi CM in the excise policy case. The ED challenged the order in the Delhi High Court.

The agency, in its petition before the Delhi High Court, said the trial court granted regular bail to the Delhi CM without granting an adequate opportunity of hearing its counsel. The ED also took a plea that the Special Judge erred in not appreciating the facts of the present case that all courts up to the Supreme Court have given judicial imprimatur that the offence of money laundering has been committed. Therefore, regular bail to Kejriwal, in light of the mandatory twin conditions under Section 45 of the PMLA, could not have been granted.

The ED also stated that the Special Judge, contrary to the well-settled legal position, did not stay her order for a short period to enable them to exercise its right to challenge it before the High Court. A copy of the impugned order was also not provided, ED told the Delhi High Court.

Considering the above facts, ED prayed Delhi High Court for urgent relief in the Kejriwal bail case and said, if the present application is not listed, irreparable injury will be caused. ASG S V Raju and Special counsel Zoheb Hossain appeared for ED and the matter is listed before the bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain.

Earlier, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Kejriwal on May 10 to allow him to campaign for Lok Sabha elections and he was asked to surrender on June 2. He was arrested by ED on March 21.

Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal, speaking in South Delhi’s Bhogal where Delhi Water Minister Atishi began her hunger strike to demand more water for the capital city, attacked the ED for swiftly challenging her husband’s bail order in the high court. She said the agency is behaving as the AAP national convener was the “most wanted terrorist in India”.

“It was only yesterday your chief minister got bail. In the morning, the order was supposed to be uploaded. Even before the order was uploaded, the ED approached the Delhi High Court. This happened as if Kejriwal is the most wanted terrorist in India,” Sunita Kejriwal said.