US Reiterates Stand On Kejriwal's Arrest, Says Also Aware Of Cong's Charge Of Frozen Accounts

Reacting to India summoning a US diplomat over its comments on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, the country reiterated that it continues to follow developments connected to the issue and also said it is aware of Congress party's allegations that its bank accounts have been frozen.

ED arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on March 21 in the Delhi excise or liquor policy case

The United States reiterated that it continues to follow the developments related to Arvind Kerjwal's arrest closely even as the Ministry of External Affairs in India summoned a US diplomat on Wednesday over country's remark on what New Delhi termed as its 'internal affair'

Reacting to Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal's arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the US government on Tuesday said they are "closely monitoring" his arrest and encourage a "fair, transparent, and timely legal process".

"We encourage a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal," news agency Reuters quoted a US State Department spokesperson as saying.

Prompted by Washington's remark, the MEA on Wednesday summoned the US' Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena.

US Reiterates Stand

The US, hours later, again reacted to the summons to its diplomat over comments on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's arrest and also on the freezing of Congress bank accounts.

"We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. We are also aware of the Congress party's allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections," US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

...We encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues. With respect to your first question, I'm not going to talk about any private diplomatic conversations, but of course, what we have said publicly is what I just said from here, that we encourage fair, transparent, timely legal processes. We don't think anyone should object to that," he added.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on March 21 in the Delhi excise or liquor policy case. Arvind Kejriwal is in ED custody till March 28.

Allegations are that Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders allowed cartelisation and favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge repeatedly refuted by AAP.

MEA On US Statement On Kejriwal's Arrest

The Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement on Wednesday and said, "We take strong objection to the remarks of the Spokesperson of the US State Department about certain legal proceedings in India."

"In diplomacy, states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents," MEA said in the statement.

"India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted," MEA added.