DC Edit | Kejriwal: Don’t punish via process

What is happening is persecution of a political heavyweight and not prosecution for graft.

There is not a scintilla of doubt that anyone holding a public office can be investigated. An exalted position held by a person charged should not preclude or limit legal action, particularly in a matter of upholding probity and rooting out corruption. Even then, the process should not be used as punishment, which in the case of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal it appears to be.

It has often been reiterated by the Supreme Court that bail should be the norm and jail before trial should be used in rare cases like terrorism, murder or flight risk persons. None of this applies to Mr Kejriwal who is accused of being part of a conspiracy to empower his party’s election funds through a slanted liquor policy, which was later abandoned.

To see Mr Kejriwal arrested by the CBI while he is already in judicial custody even as he was in court arguing his case in the excise policy matter regarding PMLA charges brought by ED was, to say the least, curious. It would appear logical that a two-year-old case of this nature would have reached an advanced stage in prosecuting a person through the judicial system if he was guilty of a crime. What is happening is persecution of a political heavyweight and not prosecution for graft.

There is a place for people charged with conspiracy crimes turning approvers to escape the law. Witnesses may be credible when it comes to revealing methods the Aam Aadmi Party may have used in gathering funds to fight elections. But it is important that justice be seen to be done, which is why a speedy trial and conviction, or the establishment of innocence, is the correct route for this sensational case of alleged political fundraising.

It may seem ironic that a leader who came to power through an anti-corruption crusade should be hauled over the coals in suspicion of enrichment of his party. The wheels of the justice system may grind on slowly in the country, but that does not absolve the central investigators of needless delay in bringing their cases to a conclusion in reasonable time. Otherwise, they can only be seen to be doing their masters’ bidding in dragging the process into a form of punishment.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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