"Unconstitutional": BJP Leader Slams Arvind Kejriwal's Orders From Jail

Arvind Kejriwal's arrest - weeks before the general election - triggered protests by his party cadre and opposition leaders, including the Congress and Trinamool.

'Unconstitutional': BJP Leader Slams Arvind Kejriwal's Orders From Jail

Senior BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa (File).

New Delhi:

Senior BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa has filed a complaint with Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and the Enforcement Directorate over 'orders' issued by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - who is in the probe agency's custody following his arrest last week in the alleged liquor policy scam.

Mr Sirsa has claimed the "fabricated official order on the Delhi government's letterhead... is without number, date, and signature (and) clearly shows the unauthorised use of power".

"Today I have filed complaints with the Lieutenant Governor and the Enforcement Directorate against Atishiji (Delhi's Education and Public Works Department Minister) and others who displayed an illegal order in the name of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. They claimed the order was issued by the Chief Minister while in jail... while in the custody of the ED," Mr Sirsa said in a video statement.

"This is totally illegal and unconstitutional... and a criminal conspiracy against the people of Delhi and the office of the Chief Minister. Kejriwalji is in ED custody and lacks the legal capacity to issue such directives without court permission, which has not been granted," he continued.

"We demand an inquiry... who is misusing Chief Minister's Office and for what personal gain?" he said on X (formerly Twitter) 

Kejriwal's 'Orders' From Jail

Earlier today Mr Kejriwal issued what his party said was his second instruction from ED custody.

Shared by Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, it related to free medicines and path tests at government-run clinics in the national capital. He said the Chief Minister had "received information about problems" and directed him to ensure the clinics provide tests and medicines for free.

READ | Kejriwal's 2nd Order From Lock-Up Is On Delhi's Mohalla Clinics

Mr Kejriwal's first was passed on Monday; Atishi told the reporters the Chief Minister had "come to know that some areas of Delhi are facing water supply and sewerage problems". A tearful Atishi said the Chief Minister had said "people should not face any problem because I am in jail..."

READ | Kejriwal's 1st Order From Custody Is On Water, Sewage Problems

Both orders drew criticism from the BJP, which called the missives "scripted".

Why Was Delhi Chief Minister Arrested?

Arvind Kejriwal is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till March 28. He was arrested in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam that has roiled his party before the election.

NDTV Explains | Why Did The Enforcement Directorate Arrest Arvind Kejriwal

The ED believes the now-scrapped policy provided an impossibly high profit margin of nearly 185 per cent for retailers and 12 per cent for wholesalers. Of the latter, six per cent - over Rs 600 crore - was recovered as bribes and the money was allegedly used to fund the Goa and Punjab poll campaigns.

Protests Over Kejriwal's Arrest

His arrest - weeks before the general election - triggered protests by his party cadre and opposition leaders, including the Congress and the Trinamool; all three are part of the INDIA bloc.

Protests today led to several party workers being detained and shoved into waiting police buses.

READ | AAP Protest Seeking Kejriwal's Release, BJP Wants Him To Quit

The arrest also led to questions about how the government could function with the Chief Minister behind bars; the AAP insisted governance would not be affected and that Arvind Kejriwal would remain at its head. In fact, sources told NDTV there was no reason why this could not happen.

Party sources pointed out Mr Kejriwal had only been arrested and not convicted.

READ | How Kejriwal Passed 1st Order From Jail, AAP Leader Explains

However, even if that were the case, under current guidelines it is difficult for a Chief Minister to run his government from jail since he is limited to two meetings per week.

A workaround was suggested by a former law office to NDTV. This would involve the Lieutenant Governor recognizing Mr Kejriwal's home as a jail - effectively placing him under house arrest.

The BJP, meanwhile, has demanded Mr Kejriwal resign.

The Delhi High Court will hear Mr Kejriwal's request - he has challenged the ED's arrest and the seven-day custody of the probe agency - Wednesday. Last week he withdrew a petition before the Supreme Court, in the belief any plea would be rejected since he had approached the top court directly.

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