New Delhi, April 25: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has told the Supreme Court that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is allegedly the “kingpin and key conspirator” of the Delhi liquor scam as he was involved in the conspiracy of formulation of the now scrapped Delhi excise policy of 2021-22 to favour certain persons.

Opposing Kejriwal’s petition in the Apex Court against his arrest last month in the Delhi liquor scam, the ED also charged that he colluded with his minister and AAP leaders to demand kickbacks from businessmen in lieu of favours granted in the excise policy.

“Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of NCT of Delhi is the kingpin and key conspirator of the Delhi excise scam in collusion with ministers of the Delhi govt, AAP leaders and other persons,” the ED said in its 734-page affidavit submitted to the SC.

“Arvind Kejriwal was involved in the conspiracy of formulation of the excise policy 2021-22 to favour certain persons and also involved in the demanding kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange for favours granted in the said policy,” it said.

Taking exception to his plea, the agency stated that the PMLA, 2002 has no special provision demanding different standards of evidence for arresting a Chief Minister.

Countering Kejriwal’s other contention that his arrest violated basic structures and doctrine of free and fair elections, the ED said, “The arrest of a person, however high he may be, for a commission of offence based on material, can never violate the concept of free and fair elections.”

“If the aforesaid argument is accepted, politicians who are criminals would be granted immunity from arrest on the ground that he is required to canvass in the election,” it said.

“Treating a politician differently from an ordinary criminal in a matter of arrest would amount to arbitrary and irrational exercise of power of arrest which would violate the principle of equality enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution,” the ED elaborated.

The agency justified Kejriwal’s arrest on the ground that the investigating officer was in possession of material required under section 19, indicating his guilt of the offence of money laundering punishable under the PMLA.

“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,” it said.

Kejriwal and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia are some of the AAP leaders behind bars in the liquor scam.