Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal faces imminent chances of arrest with a team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) reaching his official bungalow on Thursday evening to question him after the Delhi High Court refused to give protection to him from coercive action the agency may take in the Delhi excise money laundering case.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking an urgent hearing against the Delhi High Court’s double bench refusing to give him relief in liquorgate. “We have heard both sides and we are not inclined at this stage (to grant protection). The respondent is at liberty to file reply,” a High Court bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain said while posting Kejriwal’s application challenging summons issued by the ED for hearing on Friday.

ED Summons

So far, the ED has issued nine summons against Delhi CM and AAP leader, seeking his presence for questioning which Kejriwal skipped totally owing to fear that he would be arrested ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

As per the ninth summon issued by the ED, Delhi CM was asked to appear before the sleuths on Thursday. The plea of a senior counsel for Kejriwal to defer the summons issued for Friday was also not entertained by the double bench of High Court.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, however, said “It is already over. Time is over. He is not attending”. Kejriwal had knocked High Court doors, stating that he was willing to join the probe, but the court should direct the ED not to arrest him.

Excise policy

The ED officials questioned and took Kejriwal’s statement under section 50 of the PMLA at his house on the irregularities in the excise policy for 2021-22, which has been since scrapped. Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj told media that no one is being allowed inside the CM’s house. “It seems like preparations are in place to arrest Arvind Kejriwal,” Bharadwaj told reporters waiting outside cm’s office.

Another Minister Atishi hit out at the central government and stated, and said, “It is clear that the ED and their masters, the BJP, do not respect the courts. Had this been the case, they would not have come to raid the residence of Arvind Kejriwal today itself... This is a political conspiracy and they are here to arrest Arvind Kejriwal...”

Parallely, AAP called an emergency meeting of senior leaders to figure out strategy who will become CM if the ED arrests Kejriwal and how to tackle the situation ahead of the elections. The police deployment at the CM residence was also increased to avoid any untoward incident arising out of the ED action as large number of AAP workers and sympathisers gathered there.

Kejriwal’s name also figured multiple times in the prosecution complaint filed by the ED. The agency has alleged that the other accused were in touch with Kejriwal for formulating the excise policy that resulted in undue benefits to them in return for which they paid kickbacks to the AAP. ED had earlier alleged that ₹100 crore bribe was given to AAP leaders by the south lobby which was used to fund election in Goa.

The agency has already arrested former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and AAP MP Sanjay Singh. Both are now in judicial custody in the case.