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Bail Pleas Deferred, Arvind Kejriwal Will Have To Return To Jail Tomorrow

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will have to return to jail tomorrow after a Delhi court deferred the hearing on his petition for interim bail today. The petition will be heard on Wednesday, a day after counting for the Lok Sabha elections.

The Supreme Court had, on May 10, granted interim bail to the AAP chief in the liquor policy case until today to campaign for the polls.

The Rouse Avenue court in Delhi deferred the bail petition after hearing both sides. While Mr Kejriwal's lawyer had sought seven days of interim bail, stating that the AAP chief was not keeping well and needed to undergo some tests, the Enforcement Directorate said false statements have been made about his health and he could not seek interim bail when he was not in custody.

'Surrender Statement Genuine?'

As the arguments began, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) pointed out that Mr Kejriwal had said in a video message yesterday that he would surrender tomorrow and asked if that statement was genuine.

Senior Advocate N Hariharan, appearing for the chief minister said he was not aware of any such statement.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, said the Supreme Court had only allowed the AAP chief to apply for regular, and not interim, bail. Additional Solicitor General SV Raju also told the court that the Supreme Court order categorically states that Mr Kejriwal has to surrender and his petition seeking permission not to do so was not maintainable.

"My second objection is that, as far as interim bail is concerned, he has to be in custody and he is not in custody today. The liberty granted to him was to apply for regular bail, there is no liberty for extension of interim bail. If he is not in custody, this application is not maintainable," Mr Raju said.

High Ketone Levels

Claiming that Mr Kejriwal was allowed to seek interim bail, Mr Hariharan said the court had the power to grant it to him.

"The interim bail granted to me (Mr Kejriwal) was with the purpose of going and campaigning for the party. This is one of the national parties and it was to aid in the conduct of free and fair elections. I was campaigning for 20 days (the period of the interim bail) and this was the purpose of my bail. I was involved in a campaign at a national level, which comes with other tensions too," Mr Hariharan said.

"Everyone releases stress in different ways and, during these 20 days, my sugar levels were fluctuating. Levels go up and down, which is alarming. My ketone levels were increasing when my urine sample was taken. It was 15+, which is very high (high ketone levels can lead to a serious diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis). My body needs examination," the lawyer said.

He told the court that Mr Kejriwal had lost 5 kg and needed to undergo tests, for which he was asking for an extension of bail for seven days.

Mr Raju, however, said there had been no weight loss, but a gain of 1 kg.

"Mr Kejriwal is saying that his medical condition is not right, but he is campaigning for hours throughout the country. He wants to cheat the court by delaying the tests. If any tests are required, we will provide all facilities in jail. If required, we will take him to AIIMS or any hospital. He said that it takes seven days for a Holter (continuous monitoring of heart activity) test. This is an absolutely shocking fact," he told the court.

Mr Mehta said the AAP chief claimed on TV that he could die and still did not go for any test since May 25.

"The entire system cannot be taken for a joy ride. He said he could die but there has been no consultation since May 25 and now he is seeking bail based on a May 24 report," Mr Mehta said.

Judge Kaveri Baweja then asked Mr Hariharan why seven days were needed.

The lawyer said it was because constant monitoring had to be done.

"This is not me saying it, but suggested by doctors. Now, if you want to give four days or five days of interim bail, this completely depends on this court… At least if these tests are done I (Mr Kejriwal) will be assured that I am not facing any life-threatening disease while I am in jail," he said.

Campaign Video Played

Mr Mehta and Mr Raju then played a video of Mr Kejriwal from the INDIA meeting in New Delhi today and pointed out that he was waving his hand and did not look sick.

"Is this a recording?" the judge asked, and Mr Mehta said it was from 20 minutes ago.

"When my learned friends are arguing he is seriously sick, this is his situation. He doesn't look sick," Mr Raju said.

The court deferred the interim bail petition after hearing both sides. His plea for regular bail will be heard on Friday.

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