US Speaks Again On Arvind Kejriwal, Mentions Frozen Congress Accounts

US Speaks Again On Arvind Kejriwal, Mentions Frozen Congress Accounts

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate. (File)

New Delhi:

After India summoned an American diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated on Wednesday its call for “fair, transparent, timely legal processes”.

We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller while responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi.

The meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Mr Kejriwal.

Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts, saying, “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.”

Read | India Summons US Diplomat Over Comments On Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest

He said the US encourages “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,” he said.

Mr Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the third Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader after Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh to be taken into custody in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam.

The US State Department on Tuesday said it is monitoring reports of Mr Kejriwal’s arrest and called on New Delhi to ensure “a fair and timely legal process” for the jailed Chief Minister.

India objected to it and warned of “unhealthy precedents”.

Read | “Encourage Fair, Transparent Legal Process”: US On Arvind Kejriwal Arrest

“States are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the foreign 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 ministry stressed.

The US remarks came days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Mr Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government had reacted strongly and summoned the German envoy, labelling their remark “blatant interference in internal matters”.

The excise policy was introduced to bring an overhaul to the liquor business in Delhi, but was scrapped after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities in the policy. The ED believes the bribe money from the policy was allegedly used for funding the AAP’s election campaigns. It has also called Mr Kejriwal a “conspirator” in the case.

His arrest just ahead of the 2024 2024 Lok Sabha election has also prompted furious protests from the opposition camp.

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