Calling approvers “Jaichands” is acknowledging Kejriwal’s hand in scam: Delhi HC in Liquor policy case

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Justice Swaran Kanta Sharma has said that just because there are statements by persons who turned approvers from accused in the case against Kejriwal, it does not mean that their words hold no evidentiary value 

The Delhi High Court has left no stone unturned in its 106-page judgment, as it dissects the arguments of Arvind Kejriwal’s counsel to reject his plea against arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

The single judge bench has rejected his plea in the liqour scam case & said that Senior Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s argument that statements of the accused turned approvers - Raghav Magunta & Sarath Reddy cannot be relied on as they are “Jaichands” or traitors acknowledges Kejriwal’s involvement in the alleged scam.

It notes that it is far-fetched to claim that the approvers statements cannot be taken on face value as they were accused persons first & then turned approvers for political or other benefit.

Justice Swaran Kanta Sharma said,

“This Court wonders that if the learned Senior counsel terms the approvers in the present case as ‘Jaichands’, then that would rather amount to saying that the approvers have turned traitors, and further acknowledging that they were part of the same alleged plan which the Directorate of Enforcement alleges that the approver and the petitioner were part of. However, this Court will restrain from further dwelling into this argument.”

YSR MP Raghav Magunta, in the remand application filed by the ED under Section 164 (before the magistrate) stated that Kejriwal had demanded 100 crores to fun elections in Goa from his father, MS Magunta, in return for kickbacks in the Liqour policy. 
Sarath Reddy on the other hand is director of Aurobindo Pharma. According to a report in HT, ED arrested the Hyderabad-based businessman in November 2022. Sarath Reddy was named as part of the liquor policy's south cartel which also had Telangana leader K Kavitha, now arrested.

The single judge bench has said that equating the approvers in this case to ‘Trojan horses’ and ‘Jaichands’, and stating that, “this species which is called an approver has been dealt with in our history, whether for good motives or bad motives, have been dealt with phrases like Jaichand and Trojan Horses. The history looks very harshly at these Jaichands and Trojan horses. They gave daga (betrayal) to their accomplices”, effectively acknowledges the ED’s case against Kejriwal.

The bench has gone on to state that the approvers had given sixty crores to the ruling party not the concern of this Court, “as this Court is required to apply the law and the evidence before it as it is and in the context in which it has been placed before it”.

Thus, it has been held that Whether Sh. Magunta S. Reddy or Sh. Sarath Reddy gave
statements out of their own free will and the reason for coming out with some facts in their statements against the particular person at a particular time cannot be questioned by this Court at this stage, but can be questioned by all means as a matter of right by the accused at the appropriate stage of trial. 

Court has further stated that the law of approver is more than 100 years old (Section 337 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 i.e. the old Code and Section
306 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 i.e. the new Code) and not one year old law to suggest. It has been stated that the law has not specifically been enacted to falsely implicate the present petitioner and co-accused persons in this case.

“The law has been in existence even before the birth of many of us who are reading
the judgment and the one who is writing it. The law on approver as well as the law on its evidentiary value has been tested by the Privy Council and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in innumerable cases, and has not been struck down to be unconstitutional till date by any Court of law. The present case is neither the first nor the last case wherein the approver’s statements have been recorded or have been relied upon by the prosecution,” the bench said.

Kejriwal has been in judicial custody for over two weeks. He is expected to approach the Supreme Court against the instant Delhi HC judgment.