India has “strongly objected” to remarks by a US spokesperson on Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in the Delhi liquor policy case and stated that states should respect sovereignty and internal affairs of others.

The Ministry of External Affairs, on Wednesday, also summoned the US’ Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena for a diplomatic meeting.

“We take strong objection to the remarks of the spokesperson of the US State Department about certain legal proceedings in India. In diplomacy, states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in the case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the MEA said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

It added that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. “Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” it said

Earlier this week, a US State Department spokesperson said that the US was closely following reports of the arrest of Kejriwal and encouraged a fair, transparent and timely legal process for him. 

International attention

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 22 on charges of money laundering and corruption but his Aam Aadmi Party denied the allegations and called it a fabricated case. The arrest has attracted international attention as it has taken place just a month before the country’s general elections.

Last Friday, Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sebastian Fischer, too, had commented on Kejriwal’s arrest. “We assume and expect that the standards relating to independence of judiciary and basic democratic principles will also be applied in this case,” he said.

The following day, the MEA summoned German Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Georg Enzweiler, and conveyed India’s strong protest.

“We see such remarks as interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary…Biased assumptions made on this account are most unwarranted,” it said in a statement.