Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind KejriwalIANS

A Delhi court on Friday reserved its order on a plea filed by arrested Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking permission to spend more time with his legal counsel to prepare for the cases pending against him in several parts of the country.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Court, who heard the matter, has listed the pronouncement of judgment for April 9.

On Monday, the court sent Kejriwal to judicial custody till April 15 in connection with a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

In the application filed on Thursday, the Chief Minister claimed that two weekly meetings with his lawyer, as permitted by the court, were insufficient as he faced multiple cases in various states and needed more time for consultations. He urged the court to increase the number of meetings with his lawyer to five per week.

Enforcement Directorate
Enforcement DirectorateIANS

Kejriwal's counsel stressed the multitude of pending cases and argued that the allocated one hour per week for legal consultations was inadequate for understanding and providing instructions.

He also pointed out that Sanjay Singh, another accused, recently granted bail by a trial court on the Supreme Court's instructions, was granted three meetings despite facing fewer cases.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), however, contested Kejriwal's request for more time with his lawyer, arguing against special privileges being extended to him solely based on his desire to govern from within the jail.

Citing violations of the jail manual, it opposed Kejriwal's request for five weekly meetings with his lawyer, saying that he already enjoyed the privilege of two meetings per week, which deviates from the standard practice of one.

It said that despite Kejriwal's status outside the prison, he must be treated equally within it, without exceptions or special privileges.

The agency also accused Kejriwal of misusing legal interviews for purposes beyond consultation, raising concerns about his governance directives issued from behind bars.

As Kejriwal's counsel argued over the unequal treatment of individuals and the need to balance their rights, the ED maintained that under valid judicial custody, certain rights are curtailed per jail manuals, rejecting the notion of absolute rights for individuals in custody.

The ED arrested Kejriwal on March 21 after questioning him for over two hours at his official residence in Delhi. It has termed the Chief Minister the "kingpin and the key conspirator" of the alleged excise scam in collusion with other ministers of the Delhi government, AAP leaders, and other persons.

(With inputs from IANS)