The Delhi chief minister has been arrested

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NEW DELHI — Indian law enforcement officials on Thursday arrested Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and an up-and-coming opposition leader, in an alleged money-laundering case that his supporters say has been trumped up by the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, which rules the Indian capital and the state of Punjab, is the second opposition party chief to be arrested in recent weeks after Hemant Soren, the leader of Jharkhand state, was taken into custody in January over an alleged land scam.
Since 2022, Kejriwal and his allies have been accused by the BJP of selling liquor licenses and receiving kickbacks from vendors in the capital.
India’s Enforcement Directorate, which investigates money laundering, has alleged it has evidence that Kejriwal’s party received millions of dollars from a liquor group.
Advertisement While Kejriwal’s role and culpability in the affair remains unclear — Kejriwal has denied wrongdoing — opposition parties in recent months have increasingly accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP of unfairly using federal investigative agencies to systematically pressure political rivals — or jail them outright ahead of crucial national elections that begin April 19.
Aside from Kejriwal, three other leaders in his party, seen as a potent future challenger to the BJP in national politics, have been jailed in the past year in the liquor case.
The Indian National Congress, another opposition party, has similarly accused the BJP of using tax agencies to cripple its operations ahead of upcoming elections.
On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi, a Congress leader, told a news conference that his party has not been able to access any funds for the past month, or “even buy a rail ticket,” because its bank accounts have been frozen by the government as part of a years-old tax case.
After news of Kejriwal’s arrest broke, Gandhi condemned the government’s move as autocratic.
Advertisement Kejriwal’s AAP said late Thursday that it would challenge his arrest in the Supreme Court as his supporters flocked to his Delhi residence, blocked roads and occasionally tussled with police.
Speaking to television reporters outside Kejriwal’s home, his party colleagues said the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation was a ploy by Modi to prevent Kejriwal from campaigning in the upcoming election.
“It is clear to everyone who is afraid of a loss in the upcoming election,” AAP official Somnath Bharti told reporters.
“Is this free and fair?
Opposition leaders are being imprisoned; bank accounts of opposition parties are being frozen.” BJP officials, meanwhile, doubled down on their accusations of Kejriwal’s alleged corruption and called the arrest justified.
While the BJP is viewed as the most popular party in India and Modi is widely expected to win a third term in the upcoming polls, his Hindu nationalist party’s monopoly over the state machinery and its outsize dominance in campaign financing have raised intense public debate about the fairness and vigor of Indian elections.
Advertisement This month, a landmark Indian Supreme Court judgment forced the government to reveal detailed records about an opaque campaign financing scheme that allowed Indian companies to give unlimited and anonymous campaign contributions.
The data showed that the BJP had received more than half of the roughly $2 billion in donations made by companies since 2018 — or more than what 20 other parties combined received — leading some in the opposition to cry foul.

NEW DELHI — Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and a rising star in the opposition, was taken into custody by Indian law enforcement officials on Thursday. His supporters claim that the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fabricated evidence to support their allegations of money-laundering.

Taking office in January over a purported land scam, Hemant Soren, the leader of Jharkhand state, was arrested. Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, which controls the capital of India and the state of Punjab, is the second leader of an opposition party to be arrested in recent weeks.

The BJP has accused Kejriwal and his associates of receiving kickbacks from capital vendors and selling liquor licenses since 2022. Kejriwal’s party allegedly received millions of dollars from a liquor group, according to evidence purportedly found by India’s Enforcement Directorate, which looks into money laundering.

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Opposition parties have been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP of unfairly using federal investigative agencies to systematically pressure political rivals or jail them outright ahead of the crucial national elections that begin on April 19. While Kejriwal’s role and culpability in the affair remain unclear, as he has denied wrongdoing. In addition to Kejriwal, three other party leaders who were viewed as strong prospects to take on the BJP in national politics were imprisoned in the previous year due to alcohol-related charges.

Another opposition party, the Indian National Congress, has made a similar accusation against the BJP, saying it is using tax agencies to undermine its functions in advance of the next elections. Congressman Rahul Gandhi stated at a press conference on Thursday that his party’s bank accounts have been frozen by the government as part of an ongoing tax case, which has prevented them from accessing any funds for the past month or from “even buying a rail ticket.”.

Gandhi denounced the government’s action as dictatorial as soon as word of Kejriwal’s arrest spread.

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As his supporters flocked to Kejriwal’s Delhi residence, blocked roads, and occasionally got into altercations with police, the AAP announced late Thursday that it would challenge his arrest in the Supreme Court. Speaking to television reporters in front of Kejriwal’s house, colleagues in the party claimed that Modi was using the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation as a ruse to keep Kejriwal from running for office in the coming election.

“Anyone who is scared of losing in the next election can clearly see it,” Somnath Bharti, an AAP official, told reporters. Opposition leaders are being put in jail, and opposition parties’ bank accounts are being frozen. Is this free and fair? “.

Meanwhile, BJP representatives stated that Kejriwal’s arrest was warranted and stepped up their criticism of his alleged corruption.

Even though Modi is predicted to win a third term in the upcoming elections and the BJP is seen as the most popular party in India, the intense public debate regarding the fairness and vibrancy of Indian elections has been sparked by the Hindu nationalist party’s monopoly over the state apparatus and its overwhelming dominance in campaign financing.

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This month, the government was compelled by a historic ruling by the Indian Supreme Court to disclose comprehensive documentation regarding a murky campaign funding scheme that permitted Indian corporations to make anonymous, limitless donations to political campaigns. According to the data, the BJP has received over half of the approximately $2 billion in corporate donations since 2018. This amount is greater than the combined donations of 20 other parties, which has caused some opposition parties to express outrage.

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