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Indian court blocks PM Modi opponent Kejriwal's release from prison

Delhi CM denies charges as "political conspiracy" by Modi and his Hindu-nationalist BJP

AFP
June 21, 2024
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks during a public rally in Guwahati on April 2, 2023. — AFP


NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Friday stopped the release of one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's chief opponents from jail, a day after the latter was granted bail in a long-running corruption case, reports said.

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and the leader of the opposition Aam Aadmi party, denies the charges as a "political conspiracy" by Modi and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He was released from detention to campaign partway through India's weeks-long general election but returned to jail after voting ended this month.

A trial court ordered his release late Thursday, but before he could walk out of jail on Friday the country's top economic crimes investigative agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), appealed to the Delhi High Court.

It suspended his release until it could decide on the appeal, local media reported.

The decision could come in "two-three days", legal news portal Live Law posted on social media platform X.

Kejriwal is one of several opposition leaders in India under criminal investigation over various corruption-related probes, which Modi's opponents say are being used by the premier to weaken any potential challengers.

The 55-year-old has been chief minister of Delhi, the region which includes the capital New Delhi, for nearly a decade.

He first came to prominence as an anti-corruption crusader, but his government was itself accused of graft when it liberalised liquor sales in 2021.

His party is a key member of the opposition INDIA bloc, led by the main opposition Congress party, which defied polls and expectations to deprive Modi's BJP of its overall parliamentary majority in the election.


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