What happens to the AAP-led Delhi govt if Arvind Kejriwal is arrested? | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  What happens to the AAP-led Delhi govt if Arvind Kejriwal is arrested?
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What happens to the AAP-led Delhi govt if Arvind Kejriwal is arrested?

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case. There are concerns that he may be arrested after his interrogation.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday (ANI)Premium
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday (ANI)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate this week in connection with a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam. The development has sparking concerns that the AAP chief will be arrested following his ED interrogation. Party leaders insist that the Delhi government will be ‘run from jail’ in such a situation. 

“If the whole party is in jail, then the government and the party would run from jail. And this is what the BJP wants is that everyone should be in jail... They want free education, free electricity, free water, free pilgrimage, hospitals, and mohalla clinics to stop but Arvind Kejriwal will not let this happen," party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj told ANI on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Delhi Liquor Policy Case: ‘If Kejriwal is arrested…’: Atishi says on ED summons

Can a chief minister be jailed or arrested?

The Indian President and Governors are exempt from civil and criminal proceedings during their term in office. However this immunity does not apply to the Prime Minister or CMs. Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa was the first Chief Minister to be convicted while holding office. 

Can a government or CM operate from jail?

Aam Aadmi Party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj insisted on Wednesday that the Delhi government and his party would be run from jail in case the CM was arrested. While this would come with a slew of logistical difficulties, there is no law inherently prohibiting the Chief Minister from remaining in office if he is under investigation. It is also pertinent to note that Kejriwal's arrest or incarceration is mere speculation at this point. 

A chief minister will only be disqualified from holding office if they are convicted. Jayalalithaa for example held office until she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case some three years into her term. 

WATCH: ED Summons Delhi CM; Kejriwal’s Excise Case Connection Explained

It is also pertinent to note that members of Kejriwal's Cabinet were retained in their roles well after their arrest and imprisonment in connection with the same case. Former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia's portfolios were reassigned two days after his arrest while former health minister Satyendar Jain resigned after more than a year in jail. Their status as Delhi MLAs however remains unchanged. 

Will Kejriwal really be arrested?

Kejriwal has been issued the summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and according to sources, the ED will record his statement once he deposes at the probe agency's Delhi office at 11 am on November 2. Party leaders remain insisted that he will be arrested on Thursday – an assertion without any factual basis at present. 

What happens if Arvind Kejriwal is arrested and jailed?

While a Chief Minister is not automatically removed from office upon arrest, Kejriwal's work will become exponentially difficult in this case. 

ALSO READ: Delhi excise policy: AAP-BJP war of words after ED summons CM Kejriwal

Both the Aam Aadmi Party and the Delhi government are led by Kejriwal – who has incidentally been operating without two of his top lieutenants in recent months. While the party has a slew of prominent leaders that remain probe-free there are no clear takers for the top role in his absence. 

But it must be remembered that Arvind Kejriwal holds no portfolio in the Delhi government. In theory, therefore, his absence will pose no direct issue for the various portfolios under the Delhi Cabinet. 

 

 

 

 

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Published: 01 Nov 2023, 07:21 PM IST
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