Home INDIA India Summons US Diplomat Over Comments On Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest

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

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India summons US diplomat over comments on Arvind Kejriwal's arrest


Gloria Berbena, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States, leaves the MEA office.

New Delhi:

The government has strongly objected to comments made by a US State Department spokesperson on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last week in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam.

The State Department summoned Gloria Berbena, the acting US deputy chief of mission, to a 40-minute meeting at its office in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon. In a brief statement released shortly afterwards, the MEA warned against “unsound precedents and against “unwarranted insults”.

“States are expected to respect the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more true in the case of fellow democracies. Otherwise, it could ultimately set unhealthy precedents,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary committed to objective and timely results. It is not justified to criticize this,” the statement emphasizes.

On Tuesday, the US State Department said it was monitoring reports of Mr Kejriwal’s arrest and called on New Delhi to ensure “fair and timely legal proceedings” for the jailed Aam Aadmi leader -side.

READ | “Encourage a fair, transparent legal process”: US on Kejriwal’s arrest

The US State Department’s comments in turn came days after the German Foreign Ministry stressed that Mr Kejriwal, like any other Indian citizen facing charges, is entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

The Indian government reacted strongly to the comment, summoning the German envoy and labeling the Foreign Office spokesperson’s comment as “blatant interference in internal affairs”.

READ | ‘Blatant interference’: India protests Germany’s comments on Kejriwal

“We view such comments as an interference in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Biased assumptions are highly unfounded.”

Asked about India’s protest against Germany, the foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters: “We refer you to the German Foreign Ministry for comment on their discussions with the Indian government.”

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last week in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam that has thrown his AAP into turmoil and provoked angry protests from the Opposition in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwal was sent to jail this week till March 28.

WhatsNew2Day explains | Why the Enforcement Directorate arrested Arvind Kejriwal

The Enforcement Directorate believes that the now abolished liquor policy created an impossibly high profit margin of 185 percent for retailers and 12 percent for wholesalers. Of the latter, six percent – ​​over Rs 600 crore – consisted of bribes, and the money was allegedly used to finance the AAP’s poll campaigns.

Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal is today in the Delhi High Court challenging his arrest.

The ED has labeled the Chief Minister as a key conspirator in the case, but Mr Kejriwal and party colleagues arrested in the case – ex-Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and former Health Minister Satyendar Jain – have all denied the charges.

The AAP and the Opposition have attacked the BJP-led central government for using central agencies such as the ED to target rivals and critics ahead of the general elections. The AAP has criticized Mr Kejriwal’s arrest as it was timely to disrupt his plans to campaign for the party.

The BJP has rejected claims that it is using central agencies as described by the opposition.

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