‘Stop misusing ED, CBI’: AAP MPs Boycott President’s Address to Protest Kejriwal’s Detention

New Delhi: In a significant political move, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs boycotted President Droupadi Murmu’s customary address to the joint session of Parliament on Thursday. This boycott was a protest against the detention of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the liquor policy scandal.

The protesting MPs held signs that read “Stop misusing ED, CBI” and “Won’t allow dictatorship.”

AAP MP Sanjay Singh voiced the party’s grievances, stating, “The CBI arrested and jailed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he was on the verge of securing bail from both the Supreme Court and the trial court. The Prime Minister should stop abusing investigative agencies. Since the President’s address, which is drafted by the government, will discuss democracy, we have decided to boycott it.”

Singh further criticized the alleged misuse of constitutional powers across India, highlighting the arrests of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Manish Sisodia, and Satyendra Jain as part of the larger protest against the President’s address.

On Wednesday, the Rouse Avenue Court sentenced Kejriwal to three days in CBI custody for his alleged involvement in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. Kejriwal was already incarcerated following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on money laundering charges linked to the same case.

After the Rouse Avenue Court initially granted bail to Kejriwal, the ED challenged this decision in the Delhi High Court. The High Court subsequently stayed Kejriwal’s bail following the ED’s appeal, which argued that the lower court’s decision was “completely flawed.”

Kejriwal then petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the stay. While the Supreme Court described the High Court’s decision as “unusual,” it refrained from intervening as the Delhi High Court had reserved its judgment.

Currently, Kejriwal remains in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. His bail was suspended on the grounds that the lower court did not provide the prosecution sufficient time to present its arguments and failed to specify the conditions of the bail.

The ED has accused Kejriwal of using funds from liquor sales to finance AAP’s campaign in Goa during the formulation of the Delhi liquor policy for 2021-22, which was later revoked by the Lieutenant Governor.

Kejriwal and AAP maintain that the central government is using its agencies to fabricate charges against opposition leaders. Despite being granted interim bail in May until June 2, 2024, to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal returned to jail on the last phase poll date, June 2, 2024.

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