Arvind Kejriwal arrest | After India summons envoy, U.S. stresses it encourages fair, transparent legal proceedings

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.
| Photo Credit: AP

After India summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to lodge a protest over remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Washington on Wednesday stressed that it encourages fair, transparent, timely legal processes and “we don’t think anyone should object to that”.

“We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

Mr. Miller was responding to a question during the State Department briefing over India summoning Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena in New Delhi earlier in the day as well as on freezing of Congress party’s bank accounts.

“We are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. And we encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues.

“With respect to your first question, I’m not going to talk about any private diplomatic conversations, but of course, what we have said publicly is what I just said from here, that we encourage fair, transparent, timely legal processes. We don’t think anyone should object to that. We’ll make the same thing clear privately,” Mr. Miller said.

Ministry of External Affairs officials summoned the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena at its office in South Block in Delhi and lodged a strong protest against a US State Department official’s remarks on Kejriwal’s arrest.

The meeting lasted for more than 30 minutes.

Reports suggested that a U.S. State Department official had said that Washington “encouraged a fair, transparent and timely legal process for Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal”.

The Enforcement Directorate has arrested Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to the excise policy ‘scam’.

The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in formulating and executing the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 which was later scrapped.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs said Delhi takes strong objection to the remarks of the spokesperson of the U.S. 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 ministry said.

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

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